Energy & Environment

Bill Hughes

  After a 2014 chemical spill polluted drinking water for more than 300,000 people in West Virginia, lawmakers there quickly mandated tighter surveillance of the state's chemical storage tanks. It revealed dozens of tanks that shouldn't have been in service still posed a potential threat to drinking water for more than 134,000 people downstream.

Ashton Marra

The state tourism division's record keeper has been subpoenaed in the criminal cases over a massive chemical spill last year.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, the subpoena says the Division of Tourism records custodian must attend the May 6 hearing for Freedom Industries officials facing federal charges.

The subpoena requires producing correspondence involving Tourism Commissioner Amy Shuler Goodwin's office about the January 2014 chemical spill.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A Preston County natural gas pipeline project that's expected to create 25 jobs is receiving a $250,000 state grant.

On Thursday, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin visited the Allegheny Wood Products site in Hazelton to announce the grant.

The money will help extend a natural gas pipeline to the company. It's expected to help increase lumber production there by 50 percent, from 20 million board feet annually to 30 million board feet.

wikimedia / Wikimedia

In Kanawha County, reoccurring mud and rock slides have led to the on and off closure of a portion of route 60 near Cedar Grove.

A community group has organized a meeting in Belle this evening to discuss the long-term impacts that these reoccurring closures could have on businesses and residents.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The city of Salem is facing more than $82,000 in fines for environmental violations at its wastewater treatment plant.

In a consent order signed in early April, the state Department of Environmental Protection said it issued the plant a variety of violations starting in 2007. They ranged from creating sludge banks in Salem Fork of Ten Mile Creek to failing to report a large spill from a grit remover bagger system.

A nonprofit environmental group has released a mapping tool it says shows mountaintop coal mining has been expanding closer to communities in central Appalachia in recent years, with nearly half of the 50 areas most at risk in West Virginia.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Federal inspectors issued 188 citations and two orders at U.S. mine operations in March.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the inspections were conducted at 13 coal mines and seven other mines.

  Standard Oil Co. has bought the assets of oil and gas company Mountain Country Partners.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson approved the sale earlier this month. Pearson's order shows the sale includes oil and gas leases for about 12,750 acres in Roane County, along with interests in about 395 oil and gas wells in Roane and Gilmer counties.

Williams Energy

Williams Energy and state regulators are working to mitigate the impact of a natural gas pipeline rupture in Marshall County.

Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater says inspectors have found benzene and other materials in an unnamed stream.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey have introduced comprehensive mine safety legislation to Congress.

The Senators say ‘The Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2015’ will help fix a broken regulatory system.

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

A report from the National Park Service says three parks in southern West Virginia brought tens of millions of dollars into the surrounding communities, supporting hundreds of jobs.

The National Park Service says the New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River and Gauley River National Recreation Area brought 1,280,604 visitors into southern West Virginia last year.

WVU Photo by Brian Persinger

A direct descendent of the tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravity has just been planted in Morgantown. It was a gift to retired Sen. Jay Rockefeller by the National Institute of Standards and Technology earlier this month in honor of his science policy leadership during a 30-year career in the United States Senate.

Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald / The Register Herald

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection hosted a public hearing about two proposed waste permits in Fayette County Tuesday night. All but one of about 30 people who who spoke at the hearing opposed the permit.

Danny Webb, the owner of the waste site, stayed for the first part of the hearing, but did not speak publicly.

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) / Wikimedia Commons

Despite recent announcements of layoffs in the industry, the state is reporting severance tax incomes from oil and gas have doubled since 2013.

A review by the West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue and the State Treasurer’s Office shows companies paid $188.3 million in severance taxes in 2014. That’s compared to the $79.2 million collected in 2013.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board ruled earlier this month the the Department of Environmental Protection violated state law when it allowed Danny Webb Construction to operate the injection wells in Fayette County without a permit.

After being rescheduled several times because of weather, a public hearing to discuss the permit application is scheduled for tonight at Oak Hill High School.
The public is invited to attend the public about these UIC permits. It's scheduled for tonight from six until eight at Oak Hill High School.

Hard times have come yet again to the coalfields of West Virginia -- massive layoffs, big cuts in production. The coal severance tax is down by about half in many coal counties.

That's what we're talking about this week on “The Front Porch”, our podcast where we bring together people with diverse views and backgrounds to see where we can find common ground.

Richwood, W.Va.
Create W.Va.

An old lot in Richwood may soon become a park featuring trellises with solar panels.

On West Virginia Morning, as a part of our occasional series "Effective from Passage,"reaction from the Eastern Panhandle about a new bill that may affect net metering standards in West Virginia. Those standards dictate how solar producers, including homeowners with solar panels, receive credit for the energy they produce.

Professor Michael McCawley of West Virginia University discusses his recent research about the health dangers of dust exposure for West Virginians that live near mountaintop removal or surface mine sites.

Wikimedia Commons

  When we hear about the danger of dust exposure, we are usually talking about coal dust underground, or silica dust. But that’s not the only dust that can make people sick. Apparently almost any dust can, if it’s fine enough.


Prosecutors Set Up Website for Victims in W.Va. Spill Case

Apr 15, 2015
Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Federal prosecutors have set up a website offering updates to victims about the criminal cases over last year's massive chemical spill.

On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the new website about the Freedom Industries cases.

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