Energy & Environment

Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley ReSource

John Fuller is waiting for another farmer he’s never met before to talk about a situation he never imagined he would be in.

It’s an overcast January day on his farm in west Kentucky, where he grew 18 acres of hemp last year, investing more than $250,000 of his own cash. He’s one of nearly 1,000 licensed hemp growers in 2019 who helped grow Kentucky’s biggest hemp crop since the state reintroduced it, trying to cash in on what could be a $1 billion industry for CBD products made from hemp.

But now, Fuller is wondering how much of that investment he’ll get back.

Antarctica experienced its hottest day on record Thursday.

At least, that's what scientists reported at Argentina's Esperanza research station, on the very northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The finding, announced Thursday by Argentina's national meteorological service, placed the temperature at 18.3 degrees Celsius — or just about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

SYDNEY BOLES/ OHIO VALLEY RESOURCE

Heavy rains caused extensive flooding across eastern Kentucky this week, and city and county officials say it could take weeks to fix some of the damage.


We discuss West Virginia’s children in crisis with members of a newly formed Public Health caucus. Also, West Virginia’s veterans were honored at the Capitol, and we bring you the latest in legislative action.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

More than two years after carrying out the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history, the Trump administration has finalized plans for the roughly 2 million acres of formerly protected land in southern Utah.

Solar panels arriving in Fayette County.
Colleen Laffey

A legislative proposal that would allow limited solar development by West Virginia’s two electric utilities has ignited intense debate in the energy committees of both the lower and upper houses of the state Legislature.

Courtesy Braidy Industries

A controversial economic development project in Ashland, Kentucky, hit a snag last week as aluminum company Braidy Industries ousted CEO and board chairman Craig Bouchard. In a statement, Braidy Industries’ interim CEO said he appreciated Bouchard’s hard work for the company. Bouchard says the firing was improper and is refusing to step down.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a story about communities along the Ohio River who want to remove some old dams, and we’ll move downstream to discuss flooding.

Summersville Lake
Huntington District Facebook Page / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Like Capt. Quint in the movie "Jaws," Aaron Yeager needed a bigger boat.

Now he has one, and according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, with it he'll be able to create more and bigger fish habitat in some of West Virginia's most popular lakes.

Natural gas pipeline warning sign
Richard Marx / Adobe Stock

West Virginia lawmakers in the House Energy Committee Tuesday voted to advance a bill that would provide tax credits to companies that store and transport a valuable byproduct of natural gas production. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Engineers are increasingly concerned about locks and dams along the Ohio River in this day and age. We take a closer look at this issue and much more on this West Virginia Morning.

It was E-Day at the West Virginia Legislature – a focus on the environment when advocates gather to lobby on behalf of environmental policy. Host Suzanne Higgins speaks with a lawmaker who is also an environmental scientist, to review several environmental related bills.

The Big Sandy Crayfish is found in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. It's listed as a threatened species and protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Guenter Schuster

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is proposing new protections for two threatened species of crayfish found in the Appalachian coalfields.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

The rain came hard and fast early on the morning of June 23, 2016. By 2 p.m., water was knee deep in Bill Bell’s appliance store on Main Street in Rainelle, a small town on the western edge of Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear reports about natural gas, grocery store closures, and pirates – of the sporting kind.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency is dramatically reducing the amount of U.S. waterways that get federal protection under the Clean Water Act — a move that is welcomed by many farmers, builders and mining companies but is opposed even by the agency's own science advisers.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Del. Bill Anderson, chairman of the House Energy Committee, and House Energy Committee member, Del. Mike Caputo on last night’s episode of The Legislature Today. They spoke about the role coal is likely to play in the future of West Virginia’s energy mix.

We hear an excerpt from the interview, taped live at the Capitol.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson returns to lead a conversation on West Virginia’s struggling coal industry. We’re also joined by senior reporter Dave Mistich and reporter Emily Allen to discuss the latest news from the Capitol.

Natural gas pipe for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline sits in a yard Feb. 27, 2019, near Morgantown, W.Va.
Larry Dowling / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s top official says the state is prepared to do “anything” to help the state’s struggling oil and natural gas industry. 

Speaking at the annual winter meeting of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 22, Gov. Jim Justice told the crowd of drillers and producers that his administration believes the industry is vital to the state’s economic health and that he’s in lockstep with the industry in supporting legislative relief. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson spoke with Angie Rosser, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Dave McMahon, of the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, during last night’s episode of The Legislature Today.

Adobe Stock

New testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified the presence of toxic fluorinated chemicals, broadly known as PFAS, in the tap water of dozens of cities across the U.S. where contamination was not previously known. 

We begin a two-part series on West Virginia’s energy sectors. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson looks at the forecast for oil and natural gas production and includes perspective from environmentalists and private property owners. Also, host Suzanne Higgins speaks with statehouse reporter Emily Allen for the latest in legislative action.

This year at the Legislature, energy and environment issues will no doubt be hot topics of debate. From water quality regulations to natural gas to the state's coal industry — tell us what YOU want to know more about.

Your question might be selected as the topic of a news report during this legislative session.

Miners and supporters block the railroad in Pike Co., Ky.
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

A group of Kentucky coal miners who blocked a railroad track for three days over unpaid wages have ended their protest, claiming victory with their paychecks.

Miners and their families began standing on the tracks leading from Quest Energy in Pike County on Monday, preventing a train loaded with coal from leaving. The miners said they hadn’t been paid since Dec. 16.

It was a lifesaving mission as dramatic as any in the months-long battle against the wildfires that have torn through the Australian bush.

But instead of a race to save humans or animals, a specialized team of Australian firefighters was bent on saving invaluable plant life: hidden groves of the Wollemi pine, a prehistoric tree species that has outlived the dinosaurs.

More Unpaid Appalachian Miners Stage A Coal Train Blockade

Jan 14, 2020
Miners and supporters block the railroad in Pike Co., Ky.
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

For the second time since summer, eastern Kentucky coal miners are blockading a railroad track to protest unpaid wages. The new blockade, which was started Monday afternoon by Quest Energy miners, echoes the months-long blockade by Blackjewel coal miners over the summer and speaks to a growing discontent in Appalachian coal country.

Adobe Stock

West Virginia’s governor says a technology company has agreed to open a research facility in the state to look into using coal to make carbon-based products.

Gov. Jim Justice gave additional details about the agreement with Ramaco Carbon on Thursday after mentioning the research center in his State of the State speech.

Proponents of increasing renewable energy generation in the Mountain State are once again urging West Virginia lawmakers to legalize a common financing method — power purchase agreements, or PPAs. 

Kenn W. Kiser / morguefile.com

 


  A new study finds the closure of coal-fired power plants and transition to natural gas generation across the United States over a decade saved an estimated 26,610 lives due to a reduction in air pollution, with about a fifth of those avoided deaths in the Ohio Valley. 

Empty CSX rail cars derailed on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
Courtesy Washington County, Md.

Two incidents in the Eastern Panhandle that occurred over the Christmas holiday have seen some resolution.

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