Energy & Environment

Natural Preservation
11:20 am
Fri January 30, 2015

USDA, WVU and Others Partner to Protect a Warbler

Credit Mdf / wikimedia Commons

  A five-year project to conserve a threatened warbler in West Virginia and several other states has won an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The funding is aimed at providing habitat for the cerulean warbler. Once abundant, numbers of the sky-blue bird have declined by about 70 percent since the 1960s. Habitat loss is a leading cause.

The Appalachian Mountains are a breeding stronghold for the warbler and mountaintop mining for coal has shrunk the bird's habitat.

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Government
2:47 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

W.Va. Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Well Pad Permit Transfers

Credit Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) / Wikimedia Commons

  State lawmakers have approved a bill letting companies transfer well permits for oil and natural gas drilling.

The change would help Southwestern Energy Co., which bought $5 billion in assets from Chesapeake Energy Corp. last October.

The House of Delegates fast-tracked the bill to a 96-0 vote Wednesday, instead of taking the normal three days.

The Senate did the same last week before a 31-0 vote.

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Energy & Environment
12:06 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Company Seeks Cause of W.Va. Pipeline Explosion

Credit WTRF / via wdheck@aol.com

  The operator of a pipeline that exploded in Brooke County is seeking the cause of the blast.

Monday's explosion sent flames shooting several hundred feet into the air. No injuries were reported.

Enterprise Products operates the ATEX Express pipeline. Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that the 20-inch diameter pipeline collects ethane from four natural gas processing plants in the area.

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Energy & Environment
11:59 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Comment Sought on Pipeline Surveys in Monongahela Forest

Credit Dominion Resources

  Federal officials are seeking the public's input on whether surveys for a proposed natural gas pipeline should be allowed in the Monongahela National Forest.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Its path includes about 17 miles through the national forest in Pocahontas and Randolph counties in West Virginia.

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Energy & Environment
1:54 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Gas Line Explodes in Brooke County, No Injuries Reported

Credit WTRF / via wdheck@aol.com

Police have shut down an area in northern Brooke County following a gas line explosion.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson says that no injuries or structural damage has been reported.

He says the explosion occurred Monday morning near old riding stables and the gas is still burning.

Energy & Environment
1:31 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Companies Bid Millions to Drill Under State Lands in W.Va.

Credit Northeast Natural Energy

Companies have bid millions of dollars to drill for oil and natural gas beneath several state-owned lands in West Virginia.

On Friday, the state Department of Commerce opened bids for Marcellus shale fracking under several tracts of land.

Antero ResourceFish s bid about $8,100 per acre, or $2.3 million total, for mineral rights under Jug Wildlife Management Area in Tyler County. Jay-Bee Production Company bid between $5,000 and about $16,300 per acre for different parts of the same land.

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Developing
11:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Diesel Spill Taints Water for 12,000

Credit wvva.com

Lewisburg is asking its water customers to conserve water following a diesel fuel spill.

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Coal Heritage Lecture Series
5:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

"Music of the Coalfields" Kicks Off Coal Heritage Lecture Series

Credit http://www.coalheritage.org/

  An annual spring lecture series that explores the heritage of the coal industry kicks off the first week of February with featured musicians and poets.  

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Water
4:13 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Call For Water Projects: 2015 Environmental Grant Program

The public utility company West Virginia American Water announced a call for water project entries today. The company’s 2015 Environmental Grant Program offers funds for projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and/or groundwater supplies located within West Virginia American Water’s service territory

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Legislature
1:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

West Virginia House Passes Energy Act Repeal Overwhelmingly

Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  The Republican-run state House of Delegates has passed a repeal of an energy portfolio.

The House voted 95-4 Thursday to repeal the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

The portfolio requires generating 25 percent of electricity with renewable or alternative power sources by 2025. Some coal-burning technologies qualify.

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Energy & Environment
11:41 am
Tue January 20, 2015

W.Va., Noble Negotiating Deal for Drilling Under Ohio River

Credit Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) / Wikimedia Commons

  West Virginia is negotiating a lease with Noble Energy for oil and gas drilling under the Ohio River.

Department of Commerce spokeswoman Chelsea Ruby tells The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that Noble submitted the highest bid to lease a 1,400-acre state-owned tract under the river.

Ruby says Noble has agreed to pay $3,500 per acre to lease the land. She didn't say what percentage of production royalties Noble will pay the state.

Noble spokeswoman Stacey Brodak declined comment on the deal because it hasn't been finalized.

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Underground Injection Well
4:45 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Danny Webb Construction Permit Hearing Rescheduled

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

A public hearing on two permit renewal applications for an underground injection control (UIC) facility near Lochgelly in Fayette County has been rescheduled for Feb. 19, according to a release. The hearing was initially scheduled for Jan. 7 but had to be postponed due to inclement weather conditions.

The hearing is set for 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Oak Hill High School. The DEP is also accepting written comments until March 1.

Background

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Deer Kills
11:35 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Deer Kills Down in 2014

Credit Scott Baue / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The number of deer killed during West Virginia's various seasons fell 31 percent last year compared with 2013.

The Division of Natural Resources says hunters killed 104,223 deer during the bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery and youth/Class Q and Class XS deer seasons.

That's down from 150,268 in 2013 and 23 percent below the five-year average of 136,168.

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Coal Heritage
11:34 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Funding Made Available in Coal Heritage Area

Credit www.mine-engineer.com

The National Coal Heritage Area Authority is seeking proposals for funding for projects within the National Coal Heritage Area.

The money is aimed at supporting community efforts to preserve, interpret and promote coal heritage resources.

The Register-Herald reports that the National Coal Heritage Area includes the counties of Mercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Summers, Raleigh, Fayette, Boone, Mingo, Logan, Wayne, Cabell, Lincoln and the Paint Creek and Cabin Creek watersheds in Kanawha County.

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Environment
3:22 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Report: W.Va. Water Intakes at Risk from Thousands of Tanks

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A new report says drinking water sources in West Virginia are at risk of contamination from thousands of aboveground storage tanks.

The report says the greatest risk is posed by 3,167 tanks near and upstream from surface drinking water intakes. A 2014 state law requires extra safeguards for tanks in these areas.

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Utility Rates
12:23 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Mountaineer Gas Asks PSC to Approve $12.2 Million Rate Hike

  Mountaineer Gas is seeking state approval to raise rates by $12.2 million.

The Public Service Commission says the proposed 4.7 percent increase would raise the average residential monthly bill by $3.46.

Mountaineer Gas filed its request with the PSC on Jan. 5. The company proposes that the rate increase go into effect Feb. 4.

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Water Infrastructure
9:20 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Part II: Is There Something in the Water, Southern W.Va.?

Discharge pipe.
Credit US Department of Agriculture

For all of the concerns about water compromised by natural and industrial sources (and the cancer, decay, infection, and disease that can come with that contamination), director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, Paul Ziemkiewicz said the biggest threat in water supplies in southern West Virginia (and many areas in the state) by a long shot is raw sewage.


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Education
8:21 am
Thu January 15, 2015

West Virginia Board of Education Hears Debate on Science Standards for Teaching Climate Change

Four students from Marshall University spoke to the board- Caitlyn Grimes (L), Jenna Atkins, Jake Waldman and Matt Jarvis. The students are not science majors, but they are mentored by a group called CFACT and deny climate change as a proven scientific fact.
Credit Ashton Marra/ WVPB

The West Virginia Board of Education rescinded a proposal on Wednesday on teaching requirements for education science standards on climate change.

Over a hundred people flooded the board room at the state capitol, many of them because of a controversial addition to the science curriculum for k-12 grade students.

Recognizing their concerns, the board voted to place the proposal back on a 30-day public comment period.

The vote came at the suggestion of Clayton Burch, the Department of Education's chief academic officer. “It's important to get it right.”

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Water Infrastructure
11:17 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Part I: Is There Something in the Water, Southern W.Va.?

Folks in rural southern West Virginia often brush their teeth with bottled water.
Credit Jessical Lilly / WVPublic

In an ongoing look at water infrastructure challenges in the southern region of West Virginia, we consider possible health effects of long-term exposure to contaminated water sources. First: the health impacts of industrial contamination, as well as naturally occurring pollutants.

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Energy Business
2:10 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Patriot Coal Moves Headquarters to W.Va.

Credit Patriot Coal

Patriot Coal Corp. has relocated its headquarters from St. Louis to West Virginia.

The company says in a news release that its operations office in Scott Depot became the company's headquarters effective Jan. 1.

Patriot Coal says the move will reduce administrative costs and put the headquarters closer to its mining operations and customers.

The transition began in November and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

Patriot Coal has eight mining complexes in West Virginia and two in western Kentucky.

 

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