Energy & Environment

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The unincorporated town of Comfort, West Virginia, is made up of two gas stations and an elementary school. All three sit along a winding, two lane road that on any given day is peppered with trucks carry loads of coal. Coal they picked up at the Kanawha Eagle mining complex a few hundred feet down the road, but the last several years have been tough for the industry and now fewer and fewer of those trucks roll through. 

The Miner

As the price of coal has declined over the past four years, no one state may be feeling the financial impact more than our own. West Virginia once relied heavily on coal and related industries for jobs, but now has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. As part of our partnership with Pittsburgh’s the Allegheny Front looking at the future of coal in Appalachia, we zero in on how the decline of coal prices are impacting how West Virginia governments pay the bills.

The nonprofit news organization Climate Central is made up of journalists who report on climate science and scientists who conduct research on the subject. The group recently released a report focused on the increasing number of danger days cities across the country will experience over the next 40 years, and the state’s capital city, Charleston, topped the list. 

Magnus Manske / wikimedia Commons

Residents and businesses in Ohio County and Wheeling can resume normal water usage following the dissipation of algae in the Ohio River.

Authorities on Sunday lifted a water conservation order issued last week.

water faucet
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West Virginia's water quality standards will be discussed during a public meeting this week.

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Four additional West Virginia counties have been declared endemic for Lyme disease, bringing the total to 11.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Kanawha, Marshall, Roane and Wetzel counties were declared endemic for the tick-borne disease as of Aug. 15. They join Berkeley, Hampshire, Hancock, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Wood counties on the list.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A federal judge is ordering a jury pool of 300 southern West Virginians in the criminal case against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

In southern West Virginia federal court Thursday, Judge Irene Berger ordered a random selection of 300 prospective jurors from the Charleston and Huntington divisions.

Prospective jurors will have to complete a questionnaire by Aug. 31.

WVU
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Mon Power has scheduled a power outage on West Virginia University's Evansdale campus.

The Dominion Post reports the power outage begins at 5 a.m. on Saturday will last about 10 hours.

A recent lightning strike damaged the primary distribution grid that provides power to some WVU facilities.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule this week that would regulate methane gas pollution in the oil and gas industry. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the Obama administration wants to see emissions cut in half over the next decade. 

It's pretty much taken for granted that riding a bike is good for you. Studies have shown that biking not only benefits your physical health; it's also good for your mental health. But cycling also carries some potential risks in big cities. And we're not just talking about a car door opening into your bike lane. 

Fracking, Fluid
Baker Hughes

Antero Resources, an oil and gas company that operates in north central West Virginia, has announced intentions to build a wastewater treatment complex in Doddridge County to support its hydraulic fracturing efforts.

Antero signed an agreement with Veolia Water Technologies to build the facility. The company anticipates the complex with be able to treat 60,000 barrels of water per day.

The $275 million facility located off of Route 50 on Gum Run Rd. will allow Antero to clean flowback water used in the fracking process enough that it can be reused on other wells rather than disposed of in an injection well.

Bill Hughes

The federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new rule this week that would regulate methane gas pollution in the oil and gas industry. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the Obama administration wants to see emissions cut in half over the next decade.


Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An executive charged in a chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia's biggest drinking water supply is expected to plead guilty.

Former Freedom Industries executive Dennis Farrell is expected to enter the plea Tuesday morning in Charleston federal court in front of Judge Thomas Johnston.

Kanawha County
wikimedia / Wikimedia

At least one person was injured in West Virginia after a gas line exploded near Winfield.

The pension and health care benefits of thousands of coal miners could be at risk. That’s if a Virginia bankruptcy judge allows Patriot Coal to end a collective bargaining agreement with the United Mine Workers of America, but members of the union made it clear Monday, they’re not going to lose those benefits without a fight.

 

A new type of learning will be the focus of a consolidated elementary school in Cabell County. Although they won't be in their new building until spring, parents and teachers say expeditionary learning will make a difference for their students.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Some 2,000 active and retired coal miners gathered in the parking lot of the movie theater in Scott Depot Monday afternoon, looking up at their leader United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts.

"If you think this crowd is big, you try to mine one lump of coal without us," Roberts shouted. “We won't just stand in front of your offices. We'll stand in front of your coal mines. We'll stand in front of your cleaning plants. We'll block the roads and nobody will have a job."


Patriot Coal

The United Mine Workers of America is planning to protest Patriot Coal's intentions to eliminate its union contract that includes pension contributions.

The union says hundreds of miners are set to rally on Monday afternoon outside the company's headquarters in Scott Depot.

Patriot filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 12. The company wants permission from a federal bankruptcy judge in Virginia to reject the company's collective bargaining agreement with union miners and change retirees' health care benefits.

Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Attorneys for former coal executive Don Blankenship are pressing for documents related to the deadly Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in 2010.

They want the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to turn over what the attorneys say are previously undisclosed documents. They include any records about a meeting and a phone call between the former Massey Energy CEO and MSHA's chief Joe Main in the two months before the mining disaster.

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Extracted from PDF file here and colorized according to bitmap available here.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US-NTSB-Seal.svg#mediaviewer/File:US-NTSB-Seal. / U.S. Government

Authorities say a pilot was injured when a small plane crashed in northern West Virginia.

Marion County emergency management director Chris McIntire says the plane crashed upon landing Friday afternoon at the Fairmont Municipal Airport.

Marshall County
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Authorities say a CSX chemical train has derailed in Marshall County. No chemicals were spilled.

WTOV-TV reports four cars left the tracks near the Axial chemical plant around 2:30 a.m. Thursday near New Martinsville. Two cars that derailed carried chlorine and two others that left the tracks contained hydrochloric acid.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

  Federal regulators plan to hold public hearings in six states on a proposed stream protection rule.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation says the proposed rule overhauls a set of regulations that are three decades old.

Under the proposal, coal companies would be required to avoid mining practices that destroy drinking water sources, permanently pollute streams, threaten forests and increase flood risk.

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