Energy & Environment

Sections of pipe sit in a storage yard outside Buckhannon, W.Va.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting file photo

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to rehear a case over the legality of permits that allow the multibillion dollar natural gas pipeline to cross under national forest lands, including the Appalachian Trail.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

According to a press release from the Appalachian Regional Commission, $22.8 million is being awarded to 33 projects in the Appalachian region.

The funding is part of the ARC’s POWER program, an initiative that awards federal funding for coal impacted communities to help them create jobs.

Courtesy Coal Miners Respiratory Clinic

Miners and advocates rallied Wednesday at the West Virginia Capitol in support of a series of bills aimed at preventing and treating severe black lung disease.

Five bills introduced by lawmakers would make it easier to make qualify for state benefits and provide benefits to miners who have early-stage black lung.

Adobe Stock

A West Virginia House committee on Tuesday, Feb. 19, voted down an amendment that would have restored the state’s water quality standards to the version originally proposed by state environmental regulators last summer.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says a chemical company may have broken federal law by failing to notify the agency before it started manufacturing and repurposing new industrial compounds.

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

Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia.

The natural gas pipeline's parent company said in recent corporate filings with the SEC that it has been informed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia of a criminal investigation.

EQM Midstream Partners says in filings that the pipeline joint venture had received a grand jury subpoena for documents Monday.

Adobe Stock

Arch Coal Inc. says it plans to open a longwall mine in northcentral West Virginia and employ nearly 600 employees when it's fully operational.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

Economic development leaders from the Ohio Valley’s coal communities used a Congressional hearing on climate change Tuesday to say that their communities must be central to conversations about climate solutions.

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)

Natural gas driller EQT Corporation has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit brought by thousands of West Virginia gas owners.

 

In the preliminary settlement agreement approved today, the company said it will pay $53.5 million for failing to make proper gas royalty payments between 2009 and 2017.

Whiterwater Rafting Gauley River
AP Photo / Jeff Gentner

The U.S. Senate this week overwhelmingly voted to reinstate a popular program that uses revenue generated by offshore oil and gas drilling to protect public lands.

 

In a 92-8 vote, the Senate passed the "Natural Resources Management Act," a sweeping public lands package. In addition to permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the bill places more than 1 million new acres of wilderness under protection, including the the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area in Randolph County.

 

Brittany Patterson / WVPB

Democrats in West Virginia’s House of Delegates Monday proposed an amendment to the state constitution’s Bill of Rights that would specify a clean environment is a constitutional right.

Thirty-two Democratic Delegates cosponsored an Environmental Rights Amendment. House Joint Resolution 25 states that access to clean air and pure water is the right of all West Virginians.

AP PHOTO/LEFTERIS PITARAKIS

For many people in central Appalachia, coal mining doesn't just mean jobs or the ability to earn a good living right out of high school. We’re also talking about identity and culture. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Energy and Environment Reporter Brittany Patterson joins us again on The Legislature Today to lead a discussion exploring environmental issues in West Virginia. She brings us a special report from Minden, West Virginia, and she chats with a lawmaker in the House of Delegates who’s also an environmental scientist.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The completion of a natural gas pipeline running through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina has been delayed and its costs are increasing by up to $3 billion.

Joe Manchin
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will begin holding full hearings this week with a new top Democrat: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

 


 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, when President Trump delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday he’ll talk about job growth and it’s quite likely he’ll talk about coal. The coal industry and its out-of-work miners have been important symbols for Trump. 

But as Brittany Patterson reports, after two years under Trump more coal power plants are closing down and coal employment is at an all-time low.

The creek where the WVU Stream Lab team dropped their sensors. Save the Tygart Watershed Association has been keeping tabs on the waterway since before the coal slurry pond was installed nearby.
Colleen S. Good / WVU Stream Lab Project

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to remove a set of 60 proposed updates from Senate Bill 167, a rules bill that outlines a state regulation limiting pollution discharges into the state’s streams and rivers.

Pipe ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A little-noticed piece of legislation advancing through the Virginia General Assembly could pose a serious threat to Dominion Energy’s planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

The bill would add new restrictions on Dominion’s ability to pass along costs of transporting gas from the ACP to its Virginia-based power stations. That could reduce the potential revenues of a project whose costs have already ballooned in the face of fierce opposition from environmentalists and land owners.

Black Lung Clinics Call For Action But Top Regulator Plans No New Measures

Jan 29, 2019
An X-ray image of an Appalachian coal miner with black lung lesions.
Adelina Lancianese / NPR

In the wake of an NPR and PBS Frontline investigation into the surge in cases of black lung disease, a coalition of black lung clinics is calling for action to better protect coal miners from dust exposure.

Just like his grandfather and father before him, James Scyphers spent almost two decades mining coal in West Virginia.

"These were the best jobs in the area; we depended on 'em," he recalls.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

Cyndi Kirkhart has some 26 thousand square feet of warehouse space at the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntington, West Virginia, where she is executive director. That sounds like a lot of space. But very little of it is cooler space.


Arbuckle Creek, Minden
Brittany Patterson, WVPB

Two years ago, residents of Minden, West Virginia, asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do more testing and consider the town’s soil and water to be a health and environmental risk in need of another cleanup.

Last September, residents received the news that, after analyzing new data, the agency proposed listing Minden on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A final determination was supposed to happen this spring, but the partial government shutdown has pushed that back.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s energy and environment reporter, Brittany Patterson, recently visited Summers County. She spoke with a family affected by natural gas pipelines built nearby. Pipeline supporters point to millions of dollars in economic benefits and thousands of jobs. But some residents living in the path of these projects have seen their way of life radically altered.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Energy and Environment Reporter Brittany Patterson leads a discussion with Del. Joshua Higginbotham and Sen. Stephen Baldwin about the growth of the oil and gas industry in West Virginia, and the challenges that go along with it. We also hear the latest in statehouse news with Senior Statehouse Reporter Dave Mistich.

 

A new crayfish species found in West Virginia was just named after an enthusiastic crayfish expert who lives in here in the state.


Still Fighting: These Widows’ Stories Show Larger Effects of Black Lung Epidemic

Jan 20, 2019
Vickie Salyers with a picture of Gene, who died in 2013.
Sydney Boles / Ohio Valley ReSource

Nancy and Rich Potter had the kind of marriage that made other couples jealous. He’d take her on spontaneous trips. She’d wear her Daisy Dukes just for him.

Joyce Birman said her late husband, George, made a terrible first impression. It was his apology for it that made her fall for him, hard.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, graduate students from the University of Pennsylvania are looking for a solution to the complex water infrastructure challenges facing underserved communities in places like southern West Virginia. As part of their solutions driven-project, a team of six students visited McDowell County to tour the water plants. Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, has that story.

John Deskins, Director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, joins host Suzanne Higgins for a discussion on the state’s economy, areas of growth, labor force participation, and the employment growth forecast in West Virginia. We also have stories from reporters Randy Yohe and Danite Belay.

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)

The West Virginia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in an appeals case Tuesday that could have major implications for residents living near oil and gas operations.

Pages