Energy & Environment

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the days get longer, a familiar sight has returned to the skies at dusk: bats. Bats help farmers -- and the rest of us -- by eating about a million bugs a year, per bat. But because of white nose syndrome, there are fewer bats these days. In Pennsylvania, the disease has pushed some species to the statewide endangered list. As the Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier of  reports, scientists are testing a new method to try to save these animals.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia Senate is set to put a long, sweeping and controversial education reform measure to a vote today. Yesterday, the upper chamber considered amendments to Senate Bill 1039, which has been touted by Senate President Mitch Carmichael as the Student Success Act.

Senior reporter Dave Mistich joins Teresa Wills to discuss the measure, what changes have been made to the bill and what is expected moving forward.

Head of the Ohio Regatta, Ohio River
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Conservation Agency Thursday announced it is now taking public comment on a new rule that would create a grant program for conservation projects across the state.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

 


On a recent Monday, students at James Monroe High School in Monroe County eat french bread pizza, corn, beans and mixed fruit. They also have three, locally sourced salad options to choose from: a spinach salad with bright red cherry tomatoes, a pre-made salad or a make-you-own salad bar.

"We hear that these foods look so much better, put together," said Kimberly Gusler, the high school's head cook. She said that since the school began using local salad greens and vegetables and fruits when available, students appear to be eating more of them.

"They love the way the salads look.”

Update: Sunday, May 26, 2019

A massive natural gas storage tank fire in West Virginia is out.

News outlets report the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a statement that the blaze was extinguished around 5 a.m. Sunday after all-night efforts by local fire departments and state agencies.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the world waits for resolution from the Trump Administration’s trade war with China, it’s a tough time to be a farmer -- especially a soybean farmer. Soybeans are a $40 billion business in the U.S. But the crop price plummeted last year because of the trade war. Farmers are desperate for anything that can help keep their profits up. Like weedkillers.

Gov. Justice takes the oath of office as his son James C. Justice III (center) looks on.
Office of the West Virginia Governor

In apparent anticipation of a federal lawsuit seeking recovery of overdue penalties, coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have filed a lawsuit of their own against federal surface mining regulators.

 

 

The suit, first reported by WV MetroNews, is an apparent preemptive strike against the federal government, which is preparing to sue the companies over over unpaid fines associated with more than 100 environmental and reclamation violations at mines in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The site near Ashland, Ky., where Braidy plans a new aluminum facility.
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

A group of Congressional leaders asked the Trump administration to review a Russian company’s investment in a new Kentucky aluminum mill. 

The request comes from eight prominent Democratic lawmakers with leadership roles in committees with oversight, banking and national security responsibilities, including Ohio Sen.Sherrod Brown and House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Adam Schiff.

Anti-Rockwool posters lean against a bridge connecting Old Route 9 in Jefferson County to the Rockwool construction site beyond. North Jefferson Elementary School is half a mile down the road. Photo taken May 16, 2019.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 200 protesters rallied at the construction site of the Rockwool plant in Ranson, Jefferson County.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to clean up a former mining equipment operation in Fayette County, known as the Shaffer site. The agency announced this week it has added Minden to its national priorities list of superfund sites and hosted a community conversation around their next steps. Roxy Todd was there and has this report.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators including West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito this week introduced two bills aimed at further regulating a group of toxic chemicals known as PFAS.

Brittany Patterson/ WVPB

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to clean up a former mining equipment operation in Fayette County, known as the Shaffer site. On Monday, the EPA announced that the Shaffer site has been added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. 


Courtesy PTTGCA.

As a new plastics industry emerges in the Ohio Valley, a report by environmental groups warns that the expansion of plastics threatens the world’s ability to keep climate change at bay.

In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo, downed trees mark the route of the proposed Mountain Valley pipeline in Lindside, W.Va.
Steve Helber / Associated Press

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and Mountain Valley Pipeline have agreed the latter will pay $266,000 for environmental violations dating back to April 2018.

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is holding a public meeting Tuesday to collect and share information about the revision of human health criteria in the state's water quality standards.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. demand for coal to generate electricity will continue its slide in coming months despite efforts by the Trump administration to prop up the struggling industry, federal officials said Thursday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, two years ago, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources published a report stating that much of the state is at risk of outbreaks of bloodborne diseases such as HIV, and hepatitis C. The agency concluded that one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of these diseases is through harm reduction programs. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, residents in West Virginia and surrounding states living near fracking sites, pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure have complained about impacts like pollution for years. Now, prosecutors in Pennsylvania have launched criminal probes into the state’s fracking boom. For State Impact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier looks ahead to where these investigations might go.

Tim Reddinger fishing
Kara Lofton / WVPB

The variety of fish species in the Ohio River has substantially increased since the 1960s, according to a new study.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Thinking back on a tradition that’s been carried on in your family probably isn’t too hard. The Thanksgiving Turkey, or celebrating Christmas morning, or even just watching cartoons with your siblings on Saturday morning.

For one family in Lincoln County, West Virginia, the tradition is building furniture. Inside Appalachia folklife reporter, Caitlin Tan, visited the shop and brings us their story.

A boy protests the Rockwool company with his family on Aug. 2, 2018 in Charles Town, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County, West Virginia started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. The voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, this summer will mark one year since thousands of residents in Jefferson County started a movement to rally against a Denmark-based company called Rockwool. The company’s proposed West Virginia plant would manufacture stone wool insulation across the street from an elementary school. The issue has sparked contention throughout the region. As Liz McCormick reports, the voices from those against Rockwool have grown louder, but so too have those who do want Rockwool in West Virginia.

Clinical Associate Professor Michael McCawley of the West Virginia University School of Public Health moderated the symposium on air pollution at the Clarion Inn in Harpers Ferry. Photo taken Sat., Apr. 27, 2019.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community members from Jefferson County, West Virginia and nearby areas came together last weekend to hear from scientific experts from around the country about air pollution and its impacts. The event’s aim was to speak “plainly” about the issue, specifically as it pertains to Rockwool – a stone wool manufacturing company setting up shop in Jefferson County.

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 environmental regulators have changed some state-imposed conditions to a federal permit issued for stream crossings for natural gas pipelines approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In a letter sent to federal regulators last week, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) officials submitted a series of changes to the state-imposed conditions for the Nationwide Permit 12.

The changes include the removal of a 72-hour time restriction for construction of interstate natural gas pipelines under waterways in certain cases.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, community members from Jefferson County and the surrounding area came together Saturday, April 27,  to hear from scientific experts from around the country about air pollution and its impacts. As Liz McCormick reports, the event’s aim was to speak “plainly” about the issue, specifically as it pertains to Rockwool – a stone wool manufacturing company setting up shop in Jefferson County.

Residual waste truck in Pennsylvania.
Iris Marie Bloom

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week said it will not strengthen regulations on waste created by oil and gas production, a move that could affect communities across the Ohio Valley where the oil and gas industry is booming in the Appalachian Basin.  

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an NPR investigation found that despite mounting evidence, and a stream of dire warnings, federal regulators and mining companies failed to protect coal miners from toxic dust. Now at least 2,000 miners are dying from an epidemic of severe black lung linked to that toxic dust.

This morning, we hear a conversation between Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly and Becca Schimel, one of the reporters with the Ohio Valley ReSource who has followed how the medical costs for black lung may soon fall increasingly to taxpayers.

Byron Jorjorian/TNC

A conservation group chose Earth Day, April 22, to announce the purchase of a massive property in Appalachian forest to protect habitat and help wildlife adapt to the challenges of climate change.

The property covers 100,000 acres of forest straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border. The Nature Conservancy, the nonprofit that made the purchase, said it plans to restore forest health, lease land for sustainable forestry, and provide opportunities for locals to enjoy the wilderness.

Amy Sisk

Editor's Note:  The issues at Duquesne Light are not unique to Pittsburgh. Regions and industries across the country are facing the challenges of an aging workforce.  As a part of a larger project West Virginia Public Broadcasting is looking at the issue in its American Graduate/Getting to Work project.

At a Duquesne Light facility in Pittsburgh, 10 high school students hunched over sheets of paper, pens in hand, as they sketched their dream homes.

“I’m just drawing an A-frame house with a garage on the side, a nice front porch,” said Louis Charlier of Beaver Area High School on a recent Thursday.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a fire at a US Steel plant crippled its ability to control its air pollution in December. For three months, the Pittsburgh area was blanketed with releases of sulfur dioxide much higher than usual, and thousands reported suffering from poor air quality. Last week, the steelmaker finished repairing its pollution control equipment. For State Impact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier reports that the worries about air pollution and its health impacts, remain.

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