Energy & Environment

The West Virginia Public Service Commission will hear public comment next month on a Mountaineer Gas Co. natural gas line proposal.

Updated at 5:10 a.m. ET on Thursday

The outer rain bands of Hurricane Florence were beginning to be felt in North Carolina, according to the National Hurricane Center, as the Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of 110 mph and the likelihood of "life-threatening storm surge and rainfall," ranged closer to a landfall.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting


On this West Virginia Morning, pre-trial impeachment proceedings in the West Virginia Senate kicked off Tuesday with a roller coaster that still leaves all four impeached justices standing trial. An offer to publicly reprimand Chief Justice Margaret Workman and Justice Beth Walker was ruled out of order. Additionally, a motion to dismiss articles of impeachment against now-retired Justice Robin Davis was rejected by the Senate. Dave Mistich reports.

Arbuckle Creek, Minden
Brittany Patterson, WVPB

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to add areas near the Fayette County town of Minden to its list of the most serious hazardous waste sites in the country.

In a news release Tuesday, the agency said it has determined the Shaffer Equipment site, as well as parts of nearby Arbuckle Creek, should be added to the Superfund National Priorities List.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

William Suan is no stranger to the problems abandoned oil and gas wells can cause.

“It's just an eyesore,” he said, standing inside a barn on his cattle ranch near Lost Creek, West Virginia. “I had to fence one off because it's leaking now.”

There are five inactive wells on his land, most installed in the '60s and '70s, and the companies that owned the wells have long since gone out of business.

Updated at 5 a.m. ET on Tuesday

Hurricane Florence is growing in size and strength as it barrels toward the Southeastern U.S. for an expected landfall in the Carolinas later this week as an "extremely dangerous hurricane," according to the National Hurricane Center.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the natural gas boom is transforming the Ohio Valley’s energy landscape. Development has also led to abandonment of thousands of older oil and gas wells, which often then pollute local air, land, and water.

More than $1.1 million in federal funding has been announced for a West Virginia water project planned to replace outdated systems and improve service in several communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, gristmills weren’t just a place where people went to buy cornmeal and flour 100 years ago, they were also community gathering places. But supermarkets replaced the local gristmill economy, and few working mills are still in operation today.

The West Virginia Preservation Alliance placed Reed’s Mill on the list of its endangered properties last year. In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, Roxy Todd visits Monroe County, where the millman, Larry Mustain, is wondering how long he can continue to keep his family’s business going.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court begins his Senate confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sept. 4. If confirmed, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will tip the court to the right and make overturning Roe versus Wade a possibility.

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)

Developers of a major underground natural gas liquids storage facility say they are one step closer to making construction a reality. The Appalachian Development Group announced in an Aug. 29 news release that it selected an outside development and engineering firm to help with project planning and construction.

Hundreds of Jefferson County residents and locals from nearby counties rallied outside the Jefferson County Community Center on Saturday Aug. 25, 2018 to protest the Rockwool company.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The European-based insulation manufacturing company Rockwool held a handful of community open houses last week at the Jefferson County Community Center. The aim was to better-connect with residents, many of whom don’t want the company to locate in the Eastern Panhandle. Rockwool’s final open house drew a crowd of hundreds who rallied outside to protest the plant.

courtesy of Nancy Stout

The region just lost a powerhouse of environmental science and advocacy with the death of professor Benjamin Stout. Stout’s work as an educator, an expert witness in the courtroom, as well as his work empowering citizens with science, made long-term impacts regionally and nationally.

Stout was a Wheeling resident and, for the past 26 years, a biology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University. He was a stream ecologist who dedicated his life to science, nature, and above all, community. Ben died of cancer Aug. 3 at his home in Wheeling, surrounded by his family. He was 60.


West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice talks about his budget proposal during a stop on his Save Our State Tour on Thursday, March 3, 2017, at Fairmont State University.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal court has ordered the U.S. Marshal to collect more than $1 million owed by two coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

Federal regulators today gave the Mountain Valley Pipeline the green light to restart the majority of construction.

In a letter sent to Mountain Valley Pipeline officials, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said the pipeline’s continued construction hiatus could cause more environmental harm than good. In order to “mitigate further environmental impacts” the agency said construction along rights-of-way could resume, except on federal lands.


Kara Lofton / WVPB

When President Trump wants to talk coal, he comes to West Virginia. So it was not surprising that the president visited Charleston just hours after his administration unveiled a long-awaited overhaul of the Obama administration's signature climate change regulation, the Clean Power Plan.

“We’re cancelling Obama’s illegal, anti-coal-destroying regulations. The so-called Clean Power Plan,” Trump told the cheering crowd.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when President Trump visited West Virginia last week, he hailed his administration’s new Affordable Clean Energy Rule as something that will fuel a coal comeback. 
The rule replaces an Obama-era regulation intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 
But as Brittany Patterson reports, industry experts say they don’t expect Trump’s new plan to change coal’s fortunes in the Ohio Valley -- and the administration’s own analysis agrees.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency says a West Virginia site is being deleted from the Superfund National Priorities List after being added to it in 1986.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s been a lot of friction in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new Rockwool manufacturing plant. In response to the communitiy's pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled open houses through Saturday. Liz McCormick has more.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s been contention in recent weeks in Jefferson County between thousands of residents and a new manufacturing plant being built called Rockwool. In response to the pushback, the Denmark-based company has scheduled community open houses through Saturday to engage with community members.

Black lung is a deadly disease caused by exposure to dust underground.
Department of Labor

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators have introduced a provision that aims to boost participation in black lung detection programs.

Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner introduced the amendment Wednesday into the defense, labor, health and education spending package that is being debated on the Senate floor.

If passed, the provision would require the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH to create a report for Congress within 180 days detailing how to increase participation in black lung screening programs.

Beth Walker was impeached from the West Virginia Supreme Court.
Jennifer Bundy / West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

The Republican-led West Virginia House of Delegates received national attention last week for impeaching all four of the state’s sitting Supreme Court justices. Lawmakers cited a swirling scandal over court spending that ranged from using state cars for personal business to extravagant office renovations that included a $32,000 couch.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump touted the coal industry’s comeback at the rally last night. While the state has seen coal production and jobs tick upward in recent years – largely due to exports – a new federal analysis by the EPA indicates that trend is not likely to last. Brittany Patterson has more.

Kara Lofton / WVPB

At a campaign rally in Charleston for state attorney general and senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, President Donald Trump touted the coal industry’s comeback in West Virginia.

“And it is really happening -- we are back,” Trump told the cheering crowd, many of whom were sporting hard hats and carrying “Trump Digs Coal” signs. “The coal industry is back.”

EPA Moves To Dramatically Cut Regulation of Coal Power

Aug 21, 2018
Adobe Stock

The Trump administration moved to dismantle another major piece of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy on Tuesday, proposing to dramatically scale back restrictions on climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants even as it acknowledged that could lead to more premature deaths and serious illnesses.

Steve Helber / AP File Photo

President Donald Trump is expected to use a rally in West Virginia Tuesday to roll out a replacement for a major climate regulation that sought to limit carbon pollution.

Trump will be in Charleston campaigning for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Attorney General Patrick  Morrisey. He is also expected to announce his administration’s replacement for the Clean Power Plan.

Power Lines
Kreuzschnabel / wikimedia commons

Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power have filed a settlement agreement seeking to use tax reform funds to offset fuel and vegetation management costs, allowing customer rates to remain stable for two years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, eight former coal mine employees in western Kentucky faced arraignment last week on federal charges that they conspired to falsify monitoring of coal dust, which can cause black lung disease. The unusual case comes amid a surge in black lung, and the fraud charges highlight the risks miners face. Miners say cheating on dust monitors is widespread. And a recent change in Kentucky law could make it harder for those with black lung to get benefits.

Also on today's show, strengthened stream protection regulations spurred a fight between unlikely foes -- environmentalists and tourism entrepreneurs -- about whether those protections go too far.

And Gene Kendzior tells his daughter, Jennifer, about her grandfather, who died working in a coal mine in 1967.

Wikimedia Commons

Federal regulators have halted construction of two major natural gas pipelines that cross through Appalachia this month, following several federal court decisions.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) halted the Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Friday, Aug. 10. The agency issued a similar stop-work order earlier this month for the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline. Both orders followed decisions issued by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal appeals court based in Richmond, Virginia.

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