Energy & Environment

Solar panels arriving in Fayette County.
Colleen Laffey

For the first time in the United States, renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydropower generated more electricity than coal, a trend the federal U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts will continue. 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, our most recent Wild, Wondering West Virginia question came from Wheeling resident Brian Joseph. He wanted to know about the Appalachian Mountains and their sister mountains, and how they shape who we are.

“Sometimes we forget. We think we are who we are, but remember even our state motto: Montani Sempre Liberi -- which is, Mountaineers will always be free,” he said.

Mine-safety regulators say the March 2019 death of a West Virignia miner occurred because the mine operator didn't identify the place where the miner was standing as an area that should be avoided.

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration says the operator also didn't train miners to avoid such areas. Media outlets report MSHA released details of Adam DeBoard's death in an investigation report.

Catherine Jozwik, president of the Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition, speaks at a press conference outside the attorney general's office on Wednesday, June 19, before several residents and concerned West Virginians handed the governor's office a petition
Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Residents from Jefferson County gathered at the West Virginia Capitol Wednesday to give Gov. Jim Justice a petition regarding a stone wool insulation plant they’ve spent the last year protesting.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday released its long-awaited final replacement for the Obama administration's signature climate change regulation, which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by one-third by 2025.

The Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, or ACE, tasks states with developing plans that rely on the use of efficiency technologies to reduce carbon emissions at existing power plants.

Inside one section of the Entsorga facility in Martinsburg. Most of this garbage could become fuel.
Liz McCormick / WVPB

Today, most of our trash ends up in landfills. In the United States, we produce more than 200 million tons of trash every single year. But what if we could turn some of that trash into fuel? Well, it turns out a large portion of Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan County residents’ garbage is being turned into fuel as we speak – even if they may not realize it.

Coal companies controlled by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have agreed to a settlement covering millions of dollars in overdue property taxes in four eastern Kentucky counties: Harlan, Knott, Magoffin, and Pike.

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

Federal prosecutors have agreed to drop a motion seeking to hold West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and his son, Jay Justice, personally accountable for a $1.23 million civil penalty levied against one of the family’s coal businesses, Justice Energy Company, Inc.

In an order filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, attorneys for Justice Energy proposed that another Justice company, Bluestone Resources, Inc., will pay the fine.

 

In exchange, federal prosecutors agreed to withdraw a motion seeking a court ruling that the Justices be held personally responsible for the civil contempt fine levied on Justice Energy because the company is, in effect “a shell corporation with no real independent and separate corporate existence.

 

Adobe Stock images / WVPB illustration

The West Virginia Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling in favor of landowners’ claims that a company had no right to drill on their property to access oil and gas on other lands.

Del. Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson, speaks on the House floor during the 2019 regular West Virginia Legislative session.
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Rockwool has become a household name in the Eastern Panhandle, and it sparks a flurry of discussion and debate.

Jeff Young / Ohio Valley ReSource

The Sierra Club and a coalition of West Virginia-based environmental groups took the first step Tuesday toward taking legal action against companies operating 15 coal facilities and one chloride plant in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for violating the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

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.

Pages