Energy & Environment

Courtesy of Kenneth King and the WV Mine Wars Museum

Amid news of more mine lay-offs, one former coal town has built a labor museum to attract visitors. Driving down to the new West Virginia Mine Wars Museum , you really feel the fading towns and cities, sliding into the backdrop of the mountains. It's surreal. Many places in Appalachia are. It’s sad to many people who remember the thriving economy here when coal was booming. Wilma Lee Steele says she hopes the museum in Matewan will become a place where people throughout the coalfields can come to reclaim their identity. “I think that we have a lot to say, and I think we’re gonna say it. We’re gonna tell our history, and we’re gonna come together as a community.”

Alpha Natural Resources expects to idle a West Virginia coal mine that employs more than 400 workers. 

In a press release, Alpha said it notified 439 workers Friday that it expects to idle Rockspring Development's Camp Creek underground mine and processing plant in Wayne County.

 Last week, Alpha cut 71 jobs at four mines in Kentucky and Virginia.

http://history.wvu.edu/r/images/homepage/13223

The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled documents by a former university researcher studying the effects of coal mining on public health don't have to be made public after a coal company sued to have them disclosed.

The Charleston Gazette reports Alpha Natural Resources sued to try forcing West Virginia University to release thousands of documents by former professor Michael Hendryx related to academic journal articles he published.

West Virginia Encyclopedia

Recreational boaters can travel the Upper Monongahela River without hindrance for the first time in several years.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed to reopen the Opekiska and Hildebrand locks for recreational use. The locks will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends for a total of 18 days during the summer.

The corps also has opened the Morgantown Lock on weekends.

Manchin Works to Lift U.S. Oil Export Ban

May 20, 2015
U.S. Energy Information Adminstration

U.S. Senators want to introduce a bill that will help lift the U.S oil export ban

The export ban on US oil currently compromises American competitiveness and security by restricting the ability of American crude oil producers to export and sell their products outside of our national border, said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and several of his companions on the Hill.

Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

A federal magistrate judge says former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship can't spend Memorial Day in Las Vegas.

U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort denied Blankenship's travel request on Tuesday. VanDervort's ruling says the conditions of Blankenship's pre-trial release don't include traveling to Las Vegas to attend to personal matters.

Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin joined four other U.S. senators to unveil new legislation aimed at pushing back on proposed federal clean air regulations.

 

Standing beside four other Republican senators and Democrat Joe Manchin, Shelley Moore Capito introduced the The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act on Wednesday, May 13, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC as it’s known, held an environmental scoping meeting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) on Tuesday, May 12, at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County. The vast majority of those who spoke said they don’t want to see the pipeline built.

 

Harrison County landowner Autumn Long said she’s concerned about several aspects of the project, including potential environmental damage. But she also spoke against the idea that the project might supply West Virginian homes and businesses with gas, as she says has been suggested in a report the pipeline company filed about the project.

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The W.Va. Department of Environmental Protection has Statement About Danny Webb waste site in Fayette County. DEP Communications Director, Kelly J. Gillenwater said in an email Friday:

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State regulators say Freedom Industries "embarked upon a scheme" to get concessions on cleanup obligations at the site of last year's chemical spill.

In Charleston bankruptcy court Monday, the Department of Environmental Protection objected to Freedom's liquidation proposal.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

West Virginians can have a say about the environmental impact of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline at four public meetings.

EQT and its partners want to build a 42-inch diameter, 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County in West Virginia to Pittsylvania, Virginia.

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.

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