Health & Science

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

West Virginia regulators say a coal operator can begin testing new control measures at the site of a slurry spill.
 
The Department of Environmental Protection said Wednesday that it has modified an order halting all work at Patriot Coal's Kanawha Eagle preparation plant in Winifrede.
 

Chuck Roberts / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling Tuesday sent a letter to Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to formally request the CDC, or its partners, immediately conduct further epidemiological and/or toxicological studies and address ongoing population surveillance or monitoring as a result of the January 9 Elk River chemical spill.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he's not sure about tapping state reserves to monitor people's long-term health after chemicals spilled into their water supply last month.
 
Senate Majority Leader John Unger has said Tomblin should use $10 million from the state's rainy day fund for 10 years of health monitoring. Unger said lawmakers could approve the money, but it'd be easier with Tomblin's support.
 

The House Judiciary Committee heard thoughts and concerns during a public hearing over a piece of pending legislation: HB4411 - allowing the disposal of drill cuttings and associated drilling waste generated from fracking sites in commercial solid waste facilities.

Some History:

Some Recent History:

State-Wide Concern:

Some Science:

The Advocate:

Flickr / davidwilson1949

A West Virginia House of Delegates committee has voted to pass a bill to limit abortions after 20 weeks.
 
The proposal passed Monday in the Committee on Health would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks unless a physician deems a woman's medical complications pose a risk to her life or would cause irreversible physical impairment. This does not include a woman's psychological or mental condition.
 
The bill would also compel physicians who perform abortions after 20 weeks to do so in such a way that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.

Kanawha County
wikimedia / Wikimedia

Kanawha County and City of Charleston  have announces Bulk Water Sites for Tuesday, February 18th through Sunday, February 23rd.
 
Bring Your Own Containers To:
 
Crossing Mall – Elkview
Walmart Parking Lot – Quincy
Shawnee Park – Institute
Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
Big Lots Parking Lot –Patrick Street – Charleston
100 Maywood Avenue-Across from Post Office – Clendenin
 
 

Kanawha Co. Schools

Concerns over the water in West Virginia persist 39 days after a coal scrubbing chemical spill affected the water supply of some 300,000 residents across nine counties. One school in Kanawha Co. dismissed early  Monday.

Jessica Lilly

The Natural Resource Defense Council is disappointed with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to renew a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County.

The permit allows Danny Webb Construction to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, an underground injection well in Fayette County clears a key regulatory hurdle with the Department of Environmental Protection.

A study looks at how businesses were affected by the Elk River Chemical Spill, and more!

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The water has been contaminated for residents in nine counties. At a congressional hearing in West Virginia, their representatives demanded the answer to that simple question we asked earlier: Is the water safe?

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A new report says West Virginia can do more with solar power.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller expresses his opinion about the West Virginia water crisis.

A Marshall University student is watching the winter Olympics with extra special interest.

And for Jessica Lilly all this snow is a slippery slope.

WV PBS/RMazza

Frustration and anger continue to mount in the affected counties of last month’s chemical spill.

West Virginians are getting schooled in chemistry and biology, and are suddenly intimately involved in considering the bigger picture of environmental regulations on industrial activities.

Three experts, one on water quality, one on environmental law, and one on public health, spoke on the West Virginia Public Broadcasting's The Law Works about these issues.

WV Legislature

A top state senator wants West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to use $10 million in reserves for health monitoring after chemicals spilled into 300,000 people's water supply.
 
     Senate Majority John Unger wants the governor to tap into the state's rainy day fund for the program. The last-resort fund of about $915 million is considered one of the nation's strongest.
 

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has renewed a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County that accepts fracking water and other waste.

A public hearing in 2013 brought concerned residents and former workers of Danny Webb Construction, the owner of the site. Residents have been concerned about the site for years.

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's attorney general is accusing a convenience store company of illegally raising water prices while running water was unusable after a chemical spill.
 
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the enforcement action Friday in Putnam County Circuit Court, claiming Mid Valley Mart more than doubled prices for one-gallon water jugs to $3.39 at two Hurricane stores. The complaint also says one customer paid more than $40 for 12 one-gallon jugs.
 

Jessica Lilly

Several public school systems across the state remained closed Friday. It was the same story at several universities and colleges. Some West Virginians are still digging out of a deep snow that fell over Wednesday and Thursday.

Nate May's Prius is loaded down with water. The back is filled with boxes, each holding three one-gallon jugs that he just bought at Walmart. He and other volunteers are driving around Charleston, W.V., dropping off the jugs to people who have contacted his ad hoc group, the West Virginia Clean Water Hub. It's paid for with donations.

"There are a lot of people this has put in a difficult bind. Some of them can't get out, some of them are elderly, some of them — it's just too much of a financial burden," May says. "We just take them at their word if they say they need water."

Jessica Lilly

Some parts of West Virginia are buried by more than a foot of snow as a winter storm barrels across the state. The National Weather Service (NWS) is calling for an additional  accumulation of two to four inches throughout the day in several counties in the southern part of the state.

Preliminary snowfall totals from the (NWS) include 18 inches in Mount Storm, 15 inches in Jefferson County, more than 14 inches in Ronceverte,  and 16 inches in Athens.

Residents across the state are shoveling out from the winter storm although snowfall is expected through the day.

Tim Doty

Power crews are moving into the region along with the latest winter storm.

In a release, Appalachian Power said nearly 100 contractors and employees moved into areas expected to experience the most severe effects of the storm.

Phil Wright, Appalachian Power’s vice president of distribution operations said in the release that colder temperatures and a lack of wind are expected to work in the power company's favor to limit wide-spread outages.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday that he's appealing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny West Virginia's request for emergency protective measures through the emergency declaration issued in response to the Kanawha Valley water crisis.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project for residents in the nine counties affected by the Jan. 9 chemical spill into Elk River.

The project, which will make use of $650,000 from the state budget according to Tomblin, will be conducted by independent scientific experts under the direction of Dr.  Andrew Whelton, assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of South Alabama, and Corona Environmental Consulting.

WV Legislative Photography

Senate Bill 534 was introduced in the Senate Tuesday to increase the excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The proposal would mean a $1 increase in taxes on a pack of cigarettes to $1.55 total. On all other tobacco products, the tax increases from 7 percent of the wholesale price to 50 percent.

“From a polling standpoint, people say they don’t have a problem with increasing cigarette taxes,” said Senator Bob Plymale, the bill’s lead sponsor.

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Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Federal prosecutors say 15 people have been charged with distributing tens of thousands of prescription painkillers in the Ohio Valley area of West Virginia.
 
     U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced the unsealing of an 83-count indictment on Monday. It alleges the powerful painkiller oxycodone and other prescription drugs were funneled into West Virginia from northern Ohio and Detroit.
 

@chemsafetyboard / Twitter

Tanks at the facility that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply were deemed out of federal compliance three months before the leak.
 
     U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso told a congressional panel Monday that Freedom Industries ordered its own review of its tanks last October.

The Allegheny Front speaks with news director Beth Vorhees about the latest on the Elk River chemical spill and where we are one month later.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

Two West Virginia government agencies have been accused of ignoring steps that could have taken to prevent the Jan. 9 chemical spill which tainted the drinking water supply for residents in nine counties.

The Charleston Gazette reports an emergency petition was filed Friday with the state Supreme Court on behalf of two nonprofit groups and two Charleston-area residents.

Four weeks after the spill from Freedom Industries, test results from one school in West Virginia shows traces of MCHM.

A sink at George Washington High School that had a sample gathered Thursday, February 6 tested at 0.018 ppm. This level remains below the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended threshold of 1 parts per million.

Test results from 13 other schools being tested show non-detect levels of MCHM.

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