Energy & Environment

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that would scale back the Above Ground Storage Tank Act and lessen the number of tanks under state scrutiny.

The 2014 law was approved after a chemical leak tainted the drinking water supply for 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley.

http://www.murrayenergycorp.com/

A Murray Energy company wants to expand a coal slurry impoundment in Harrison County to increase its capacity.

The former Consolidation Coal Co., now called Murray American Energy Inc., is seeking state approval to broaden the impoundment by 103 acres and increase its height by 70 feet.

Dominion Resources

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is in the final stages of gathering environmental information about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The debate comes down to more jobs versus the long-term effects of increased gas drilling.

Concerns about safety and damage to the environment were pitted against a desire for economic development and energy independence during a meeting at Bridgeport High School earlier this week. 


Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries hosted a public meeting Tuesday night in a small room in the Charleston Civic Center to provide updates on the remediation of the site of the spill. Last January a coal-scrubbing chemical leaked from a 40,000 gallon storage tank next to the Elk River contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians.  

natural gas, fracking
wikimedia

West Virginia and Statoil have agreed on a deal for natural gas and oil drilling under the Ohio River.

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register reports that Norway-based Statoil plans to drill on about 474 acres of state-owned land under the river in Marshall and Wetzel counties.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A now-bankrupt chemical company has pleaded guilty to three pollution charges related to last year's spill that contaminated a West Virginia river.

Mark Welch, chief restructuring officer of Freedom Industries, entered the plea on behalf of the company Monday in federal court in Charleston.

Freedom faces a maximum $900,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled June 29.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, held a field hearing this week in Beckley, regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. The carbon pollution standards are the first of their kind and aim is to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent nationwide by reducing carbon pollution from power plants. Senator Capito held a hearing in southern West Virginia where tightening regulations might be felt most acutely.


Patriot Coal

  Patriot Coal is temporarily idling two mines at a southern West Virginia coal mining complex.

On Monday, the St. Louis-based company announced the changes at its Paint Creek Complex near Cabin Creek.

The company says it's idling the Samples surface mine and Winchester underground mine because of high coal inventory levels. Patriot attributes the high levels to the CSX railroad service disruption last month and diminished demand for coal.

http://www.rideonkrt.com/

Transit officials are looking for funding to keep buses running between Charleston and Huntington.

The Intelligent Transit bus service's funding will expire on June 30.

Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority assistant general manager Doug Hartley says unspent repair money will allow the service to operate for at least a few more months.

Hartley tells the Charleston Daily Mail that KRT is working with state and federal officials to find additional funding.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Both of West Virginia’s Senators, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelley Moore Capito, are co-sponsors of a piece of legislation that would rewrite the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act. 

Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

An engineering report shows the emergency overrun area at Yeager Airport had shifted by several feet more than a year before it partially collapsed in a landslide.

The report says Yeager employees noticed cracks in the overrun area's pavement in mid-2013. The Charleston Gazette obtained a copy of the February 2014 report provided to the airport by S&S Engineers.

Dominion Resources

Members of the public can have their say about a proposed interstate gas pipeline at two meetings next week. 

 

Dominion Resources is exploring a route for the 42-inch, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It would begin in Harrison County and end in North Carolina. The meetings are part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review process for the pipeline. 

www.mine-engineer.com

Representatives of the coal and gas industry as well as solar are expected to speak at a public forum in Martinsburg next week. The forum is about energy and how it relates to West Virginia’s economy.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The public will learn next week about plans to clean up a chemical storage site on the Elk River that was the source of a public water crisis in West Virginia.

The Tuesday meeting in Charleston will include consultants from Freedom Industries and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection. They'll explain plans under the department's voluntary industrial remediation program.

Brian Turner

Some southern West Virginia landowners who were threatened with legal action for not allowing pipeline surveyors onto their property have filed their own lawsuits.

Lawyer Derek Teaney, with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, filed paperwork Wednesday on behalf of three couples in Monroe and Summers counties.

December 2012 Sissonville Pipeline Explosion
Associated Press

Two major interstate projects have been proposed for West Virginia: The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. The goal is to create infrastructure that can carry natural gas from hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas to markets in the East and South East.  

  The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s public comment period on proposed stricter ozone standards closes this week. Many health and medical professionals across the country are urging the EPA to adopt the standard. Meanwhile, West Virginia’s senator Joe Manchin introduced legislation that would block the measure.


photo courtesy Coal River Mountain Watch

In Charleston on Monday, about 200 people gathered in front of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection headquarters to demand a moratorium on mountaintop removal mining permits.

Protesters cited several health studies that show a direct link between high rates of cancer and mountaintop removal mining. One of the six environmental groups that organized the rally was Coal River Mountain Watch. Vernon Haltom is the group’s executive director.

A truck driver has died following an accident at an Alpha Natural Resources surface mine in Southern West Virginia.

Alpha says in a news release that the fuel truck overturned Tuesday morning on a haul road on the Republic Energy surface mine property in Raleigh County.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The U.S. Forest Service extended the comment period on whether portions of the Jefferson National Forest can be surveyed for a possible pipeline route.

A special-use permit would be required before surveying could be done in the national forest for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Forest Service's original deadline for comments was Feb. 13. Comments will now be taken until April 2.

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