Energy & Environment

Huntington Fire
4:48 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Huntington Regroups After Downtown Fire

Credit Clark Davis

The city of Huntington regrouped Monday as business owners and residents of the Morris Building tried to figure out what’s next after a Sunday morning fire.

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Reverses recent decline
4:13 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Overall Mining Deaths Up First Half of 2014

Mining deaths across the country are up compared to this time last year.
Credit AllVoices.com

Twenty-two miners were killed in accidents in the mining industry during the first half of 2014, including 8 coal miners, according to a summary by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration.

 

That's compared to 18 miners who were killed in the first half of 2013.

In the second quarter of this year alone, 14 miners died – five in coal mining and nine in metal and nonmetal mining.

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Building Fire
12:11 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

Huntington Building Catches Fire

A fire in the 6-story Morris Building in Huntington was contained early Sunday afternoon.

The Huntington Fire Department and several volunteer crews from the area battled the fire in downtown Huntington. The building houses several offices, about 10 residents and two popular restaurants on the bottom floor, Backyard Pizza and the Peddler.

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Inside Appalachia Podcast
6:00 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Therapeutic Gardening for Vets, Gardens Feeding the Hungry, Chinese Medicine and More

The country’s top energy official visits Pittsburgh.

Veterans find gardening therapeutic.

We visit with Appalachian blogger and podcaster Dave Tabler.

And take a tour of a historic home in Hinton West Virginia.

Subscribe to the podcast through iTunes

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Bankruptcy
8:13 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Judge Calls for W.Va. Chemical Spill Agreement

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A bankruptcy judge is giving Freedom Industries, its insurer and stakeholders 10 days to strike an agreement on its $2.9 million insurance policy.

The company that contaminated West Virginia's largest water supply returned to bankruptcy court Tuesday in Charleston.

Freedom and 24 residents and businesses that sued after the spill proposed a $2.9 million settlement Friday using insurance. A board would pick projects benefiting the public to fund.

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Panel Discussion
4:58 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Some Say West Virginia Can Survive the New EPA Regulations

The Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church hosted the EPA Carbon Rules: How Can West Virginia Lead? panel discussion.
Credit Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia can actually thrive under new U.S. Environmental Protection Regulations that aim to reduce greenhouse gasses, according to three panelists participating in a public forum last week in Shepherdstown.

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News
9:43 am
Fri July 18, 2014

W.Va. Environmental Regulators Order Surface Mine to Stop Work

Blast warning signs are posted throughout the forest on sites near Middle Lick Mountain.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 West Virginia environmental officials have ordered a new surface coal mining operation near Kanawha State Forest to halt mining.

The stop-work order is from the Department of Environmental Protection. Inspectors issued an "imminent harm cessation order" when they found cracks in a barrier intended to contain runoff in a sediment-control ditch.

It's also meant to prevent dirt and mud from the site from entering a nearby creek.

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Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Months From Water Crisis, Leaking W.Va. Tanks Are Demolished

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:40 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

At the beginning of the year, residents of Charleston, West Virginia smelled a licorice odor in their water. It turned out a chemical used in coal production had leaked out of a nearby storage tank, contaminating the water supply for 300,000 people. This week, tanks at the center of this crisis are being demolished. But as Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports, that doesn't necessarily bring closure.

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Energy Efficiency
11:46 am
Thu July 17, 2014

The Three Ways the NAACP Says W.Va. Can Reduce Pollution and Create Jobs

NAACP West Virginia Political Action Chair Kenneth Hale at the organization's press conference at the Capitol.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Civil rights and environmental advocates gathered at the Capitol Thursday morning for the release of a new national report. The NAACP’s Just Energy Policies details ways states can reduce pollution and create jobs.

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Ecology
2:15 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

National Park Service Seeks Volunteers for Sampling

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The National Park Service in Glen Jean is gearing up for a sampling program and is looking for volunteers. 


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Tank Demolition
6:22 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Photos & Video: Demolition of Freedom Industries Site Begins

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Freedom Industries contractors began the demolition process  at the site of a January chemical leak that tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians. Contractors knocked out a wall and ripped piping materials from the tanks Tuesday.

Freedom Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch said four tanks will remain up to store stormwater and waste at the site until their contents are removed.  He said, at that point, the contents will be removed and those tanks will be torn down at the end of the process.  

Welch says Tank No. 396, which is the tank that stored MCHM and leaked into the river on January 9, will be demolished sometime next week. 

Here are some images of the site just before and during the initial phases of the demolition process:

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Chemical Spill
5:06 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Tank Demolition Underway at Freedom Site

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Demolition has started on at the site of a January chemical spill in Charleston that contaminated public drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians.

Independence Excavating began the demolition process Tuesday by knocking down a brick wall, tearing out piping, and removing materials connected to the tanks. Freedom Chief Restructuring Officer Mark Welch says the first cuts to the tanks will come Wednesday.

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Environment
10:45 am
Tue July 15, 2014

State Investigates Sheen on Monongahela River in Fairmont

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

  State environmental regulators are investigating a sheen on the Monongahela River in Fairmont.

The Department of Environmental Protection tells media outlets that the substance appeared to be petroleum based.

The DEP says the substance won't affect Fairmont's water supply. The city's water intake is upstream on the Tygart Valley River.

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Environment
5:53 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

DEP Approves Stormwater Management Plan for Freedom Tank Demolition

Credit AP

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a stormwater management plan for the demolition of the Charleston Freedom Industries site. The tanks there were involved in the contamination of the drinking water for some 300,000 West Virginians in January.

According to the plan approved Monday, Freedom Industries contractors will place liners over the footprint of the tanks to prevent stormwater from unintentionally entering the ground.

Contractors will also halt the demolition process if more than two inches of rain falls within a six-hour period.

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Mountaintop Removal
10:16 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

New Coalition Battles Mine Site Near State Forest

Kanawha County resident Doug Woods points out Middle Lick Mountain just over his shoulder, a site that has been approved for mountaintop removal mining near the Kanawha State Forest.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

About 7 miles outside of Charleston sits 9,300 acres of protected land. The Kanawha State Forest is home to hiking and biking trails, campsites and a shooting range, but just a few hundred acres away, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved a mountain top removal mine site.

The Kanawha State Forest Coalition, a group of concerned Kanawha County residents, formed to fight the site and get the administration to withdraw the permit, saving hundreds of plant and animal species on Middle Lick Mountain where mining is set to begin.

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Scientific Research
12:07 am
Sun July 13, 2014

How Will Brook Trout Respond To Climate Change?

Scientist Than Hitt is researching how brook trout might respond to climate change in this lab in Leetown, West Virginia.
Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As the climate changes, scientists around the world are trying to figure out how plants, animals and even people will be affected. One scientist in West Virginia is conducting an experiment to find out how well a fish native to Appalachian streams might survive.

This audio is pending

Biologist Than Hitt works at the U.S. Geological Survey Leetown Science Center in Jefferson County, West Virginia, where scientists explore everything from declining fish and mussel populations to the increasing presence of intersex fish in the nation’s waterways. Hitt has just started a new research project: trying to determine how climate change might affect the brook trout.

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Environment
11:29 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Air Checks Not Planned During Freedom Industries Tank Removal

Credit AP

  State and federal environmental officials say they don't have a way to monitor air quality as chemical storage tanks are taken down at the industrial site that fouled public drinking supplies for 300,000 West Virginia water customers.

The work is scheduled to begin next week at the former Freedom Industries site on the Elk River.

A spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection told The Charleston Gazette the state lacks the technology to perform the air testing for traces of the toxic chemical MCHM. She also said there are no established screening values for safe inhalation levels.

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Energy & Environment
10:30 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Manchin Wants Public to Speak Out on EPA Carbon Rules

  U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin is encouraging West Virginia residents to speak out on new pollution limits.

Manchin is directing state residents to the Federal Register to voice their concerns regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants. The Federal Register serves as a federal portal where all Americans can voice their comments before any federal government agency's proposed rule can be implemented.

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Law & Order
7:21 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

First Man in Arch Coal Kickback Case Pleads Guilty

A Logan County man is facing up to three years in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud connected to a kickback scheme at an Arch Coal mine.

Gary Roeher pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston. The 52-year-old from Holden admitted he illegally claimed business-expense deductions for kickbacks paid to an Arch official at the Mountain Laurel Mining complex in Logan County.

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Science
10:16 am
Wed July 9, 2014

USGS Study: Mountaintop Removal Mining Impacts Fish Populations

This creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) collected by Than Hitt and Doug Chambers downstream from MTM operations shows classic signs of selenium toxicity (spinal abnormality).
Credit Submitted Photo / U.S. Geological Survey

Mountaintop removal mining does have an effect on fish populations downstream from the mining operations, according to a study just released by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The study title is a mouthful: Temporal changes in taxonomic and functional diversity of fish assemblages downstream from mountaintop mining, which is the fancy way of saying USGS scientists looked at how well fish populations are doing in streams down river from mountaintop mining sites.

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