West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

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Federal officials say the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has failed numerous times to enforce state rules governing the coal-mining industry.

A three-year investigation by the Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation Enforcement concluded that the department exhibited a lack of proper water quality monitoring, poor oversight of reclamation standards and inconsistent efforts to ensure mountaintop removal doesn't cause localized flooding.

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Edward Maguire II has been appointed environmental advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP Secretary Austin Caperton announced Maguire's appointment Tuesday.

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A federal appeals court panel has upheld a ruling that coal operators in West Virginia have to follow legal water pollution limits.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a state water pollution permit didn't shield Fola Coal Co. from the water quality standards. The panel said West Virginia rules incorporated the standards into the Department of Environmental Protection permit.

Charleston Daily Mail

West Virginia's top environmental official says he's leaving the post to take a full-time job with the Air National Guard.

Randy Huffman has been environmental protection secretary since May 2008, appointed by then-Gov. Joe Manchin after more than three years as deputy secretary and director of the department's Mining Division.

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West Virginia environmental officials say they awarded $1.8 million to 28 municipal agencies, nonprofits and private industries to boost recycling.

The 2017 grants are funded through the $1 assessment per ton of solid waste disposed at landfills in the state.

The Department of Environmental Protection says $148,000 for the Cabell County Solid Waste Authority will help pay for wages, fuel, maintenance, recycling trailers, balers, other equipment and public outreach.

Alpha Natural Resources

West Virginia regulators have settled a lawsuit brought against Alpha Natural Resources over concerns about the coal producer's reclamation obligations as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Just months after emerging from bankruptcy, Alpha Natural Resources has revealed $100 million in what it calls "unaccounted for obligations," causing West Virginia regulators to worry that the burden puts the company at further risk of financial failure.

 

The Alpha disclosure, made in a recent bankruptcy court filing, has increased fears about there being adequate money available to complete proper reclamation on hundreds of Alpha mining permits across West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

Little Coal River
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West Virginia environmental officials are looking for volunteers to clean up Little Coal River.

The Department of Environmental Protection says the Little Coal River cleanup will start Saturday morning in the Julian area. The river there is littered with an estimated 400 tires.

West Virginia regulators are sticking with their proposal to change the way water-quality standards are calculated.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that a document made public Friday insists the decision "does not automatically" translate into an increase in the amount of cancer-causing chemicals allowed to be discharged into state rivers and streams.

CZmarlin / wikimedia Commons

Volunteers can sign up for next month's litter cleanup along West Virginia highways.

The Adopt-A-Highway program is a partnership between the state Department of Environmental Protection and Division of Highways.

Kanawha River
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Volunteers are gathering next month to help clean up the Kanawha River in Kanawha and Putnam counties.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a news release the event is being held from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 10. Cleanup sites are still being finalized.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

One of the largest coal operators in the region, Alpha Natural Resources, is striking deals so that the terms of its bankruptcy can be finalized in court. One deal protects hundreds of workers; another sets aside millions for environmental cleanup.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Ashton Marra brings us a flood recovery update after Governor Earl Ray Tomblin visited two of the hardest hit communities – Rainelle and Clendenin.

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Environmental groups are taking legal action to require the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to treat water pollution at bankrupt coal mines in Barbour, Nicholas and Preston counties.

News outlets report that West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club filed two lawsuits in two federal courts on April 20. The plaintiffs accuse West Virginia of violating the Clean Water Act by allowing excessive amounts of pollutants to discharge from the abandoned coal mine sites.

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West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection has submitted a feasibility study to West Virginia lawmakers. The study focused on the state’s ability to meet proposed federal carbon emission regulations, and it was required by state law.

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Volunteers will take to the highways of West Virginia later this month for spring litter cleanup with the Adopt-A-Highway program.

The program is a partnership between the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Department of Transportation's Division of Highways.

streams
Alokrohith / wikimedia commons

West Virginia environmental officials have proposed a $93,000 fine on an Antero Resources natural gas company for polluting waterways.

In a consent order, state Department of Environmental Protection and Antero Midstream LLC agreed earlier this month on the proposed fines for northern West Virginia pipeline activity.

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A water advisory remains in effect in Pine Grove after an oil spill in a northern West Virginia creek.

The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register reports officials say Pine Grove residents still shouldn't use the town's water for anything but flushing toilets.

Litter
Hhm8 / Wikimedia Commons

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is accepting applications to participate in the annual Make It Shine statewide cleanup.

This year's cleanup will be held during the first two weeks of April. The deadline to register is Feb. 28.

Alpha Natural Resources

A bankruptcy judge has approved a deal resolving a reclamation bond dispute between coal operator Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia regulators.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin R. Huennekens' order says the agreement is fair and equitable.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

West Virginia environmental officials say they're monitoring an underground coal mine fire in Preston County.

Ibrahim.ID / wikimedia Commons

Coal operator Alpha Natural Resources and West Virginia regulators have agreed on a deal resolving a dispute over the company's mine reclamation bonds.

Bristol, Virginia-based Alpha asked a bankruptcy court on Monday to approve a consent order with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Neighbors might detect the telltale scent of licorice as crews excavate soil contaminated by the 2014 Freedom Industries spill.

The excavation is scheduled to begin Monday at the site, which was the epicenter of a public water crisis for weeks. The spill into the Elk River left hundreds of thousands of residents in Charleston and neighboring counties without access to public water supplies.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A contractor is set to begin excavating soil contaminated by the January 2014 chemical leak that fouled public water supplies for hundreds of thousands of people in Charleston and the surrounding region.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the contractor hired by Freedom Industries will start digging Monday. Up to 10,000 tons of soil will be removed.

streams
Alokrohith / wikimedia commons

A salvage yard business has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for failure to obtain a water pollution-control permit.

The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown reports USA Parts Supply will make the payment in increments of $616.

State regulators will review public comments on proposed changes to West Virginia's water quality standards at a meeting this week.

A quarterly meeting of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's Water Quality Standards Program is set for Nov. 17 at the DEP's headquarters in Charleston.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia environmental officials want to hear from the public on federal emissions regulations.

The Exponent-Telegram reports that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is accepting public comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan through the end of the year. The comments will help guide the department on a plan aimed at complying with the federal rule in West Virginia.

Patriot Coal

On the same day Patriot Coal announced WARN notices had been sent to more than 1,000 Kanawha County miners, the company signed an agreement with West Virginia environmental regulators to ante up $50 million for mine reclamation projects.

The agreement with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection comes in the midst of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings in Richmond.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

About 300 Fayette County elementary school children will learn about water conservation, water science and aquatic life at the fifth annual Fayette County Water Festival.

The Register-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1Uxbc64 ) that students will learn the various ways water impacts lives, from nutrition to recreation.

Charleston Daily Mail

Can West Virginia comply with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan? And if so, at what cost?

Those are the questions Randy Huffman is trying to answer. Huffman is Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Huffman came on “The Front Porch” podcast to talk about how his agency is dealing with Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants.

Here are 10 takeaways from our interview with Huffman that will (hopefully) help you understand the Clean Power Plan’s impact on West Virginia.

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