Energy & Environment

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.

Jesse Wright / WVPB

State and federal politicians announced initiatives this week to move forward an effort to build a major underground natural gas liquids storage facility in the Ohio Valley, an effort opposed by environmental activists who fear a petrochemical expansion in the region will threaten not only the environment, but public health.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an almost decade-long effort to build a major underground natural gas liquids storage facility in the Ohio Valley saw movement this week, as state and federal politicians announced initiatives to move it forward. But as Brittany Patterson reports, not everyone is on board.

Coal Community Residents Again Ask Congress For Health Study Of Mountaintop Removal

Apr 10, 2019
mountaintop removal
Vivian Stockman and Southwings

Residents of Appalachian coal communities told a Congressional subcommittee Tuesday that the controversial mining practice known as mountaintop removal should be halted until its health effects are better studied.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, four current and former Richwood officials were indicted and arrested earlier this month on charges they embezzled money from the city. Some of those charges are related to the misuse of public funds after a devastating flood in June 2016. Dave Mistich spoke with state Auditor John B. McCuskey about his office’s investigation into Richwood and other efforts to combat fraud around the state.

Harpers Ferry view from the hill
Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led in part by West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, have introduced a bill that would permanently fund a popular land conservation program that has provided money for conservation and recreation access in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.

How Many Oil and Gas Jobs Are There in W.Va.? It’s Surprisingly Hard to Say

Apr 8, 2019
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 Del. Joshua Higginbotham, a Republican, touted the number of jobs created by the gas and oil industry in West Virginia during a Jan. 23 interview with West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“Tens of thousands of jobs (are) created in West Virginia by the natural gas and oil industries,” Higginbotham said.

Have that many jobs been created by the industry within West Virginia? The answer is more complicated than we initially expected -- so much so that we’re not providing a Truth-O-Meter rating for his statement. Instead, we’ll look at a few different ways of measuring this statistic, each of which have their own benefits and drawbacks.

Mine Safety Debt For WV Gov. Justice’s Family Companies Grows to $4M

Apr 8, 2019
Courtesy WV Governor's Office

An Ohio Valley ReSource analysis of federal mine safety data shows that the companies belonging to the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice owe $4.3 million in delinquent debt for mine safety violations. That is far more than the companies owed when Justice ran for governor in 2016, when he pledged to make good on such debts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An Ohio Valley ReSource analysis of federal mine safety data shows that the companies belonging to the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice owe $4.3 million in unpaid mine safety violations. That is far more than the companies owed when Justice ran for governor in 2016, when he pledged to make good on such debts. As Brittany Patterson reports, the Justice companies continue to have the highest unpaid mine safety debt in the nation.

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