Energy & Environment

11:16 am
Thu July 31, 2014

In West Virginia, Whitewater Rafting and the Long Tail of a Chemical Spill

Lead in text: 
The economic impact of January's chemical spill from Freedom Industries into the Elk River is still not fully known. But, as The Washington Post reports, rafting companies on the New and Gauley Rivers say they are hurting even though the Elk doesn't flow into the rafting region.
FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. - Dave Arnold stares at the giant whiteboard, searching for clues that his slow summer may finally be picking up, lifting like the New River Gorge's morning fog. The whiteboard hangs inside the storefront of a local photo studio. It lists every commercial whitewater rafting trip for the coming week on the New and Gauley rivers.
Mine Safety
10:21 am
Thu July 31, 2014

W.Va. Billionaire Facing Hundreds of Mine Violations in Five States

Credit Evan Agostini for The Greenbrier Resort / AP Photo

A West Virginia coal billionaire has more than 250 pending violations at mining operations in Kentucky and four other states.

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Energy & Environment
4:20 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Work Underway for Electric Project in W.Va. Shale Region

  FirstEnergy Corp. says construction is underway on a new transmission substation in Doddridge County to help meet the electric demands of the area's rapidly expanding Marcellus Shale gas industry.

The company also says the new substation also will support and help enhance service reliability for Mon Power's customers in Doddridge and neighboring counties.

Officials say crews recently completed the foundation work and erected steel structures at the new 11-acre site.

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Energy & Environment
12:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

West Virginia, Coal Industry Leaders Attend Pittsburgh Energy Rally

Credit Marcus Constantino (@AMTino) / Charleston Daily Mail

   West Virginia officials joined hundreds of coal miners and coal supporters at an electricity and energy jobs rally.

The Wednesday event at Pittsburgh's Highmark Stadium included Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, labor leaders and others.

Officials say the rally is aimed at raising awareness over proposed changed to federal rules about pollution discharged by coal-fired power plants.

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Tank Demolition
8:49 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

The Final Moments of Freedom Industries' Tank 396

Credit Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The storage tank that was the source of a chemical spill that contaminated the drinking water supply for 300,000 West Virginians on January 9 has been demolished. Tank 396, which housed the coal-scrubbing compound MCHM, was demolished Tuesday afternoon. Contractors began demolition of the tank farm on July 15.

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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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