Energy & Environment

Without congressional intervention, about 16,000 retired miners in seven states will lose their health care coverage by the end of the year. A proposal to temporarily extend the benefits is working its way through Congress. But two Senate Democrats, who are advocates for a more comprehensive plan, say the temporary provision isn't enough. They are threatening to hold up a spending bill that needs to pass by Friday night to keep the government running. Coal mining is dangerous work. For many...

Jason Meredith / Flickr

Chances are, one of the first things you do in the morning is turn on the faucet. For more than three million people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia, that means getting tap water that comes from the Ohio River. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio is also one of the most polluted rivers in the country. For residents of the region, news reports about toxic chemical spills shutting down drinking water supplies are the stuff of recent memory. In 2014,...

National Transportation Safety Board

A Northern Panhandle chemical plant where chlorine gas spilled from a leaking tank car has been cited for alleged workplace safety violations. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued $25,500 in fines against Axiall Corp.'s Eagle Natrium LLC subsidiary. The Aug. 27 spill occurred at the company's New Martinsville plant.

Environmentalists and the Pocahontas Land Corp. have agreed to settle a lawsuit over coal mine drainage into streams in southern West Virginia. The environmental groups say Pocahontas' former White Flame mountaintop-removal mine in Mingo County continues to discharge selenium, dissolved solids, sulfates and other pollutants into tributaries of the Tug Fork River.

Pat Little/Associated Press

Coal ash waste from a FirstEnergy Corp. plant in Pennsylvania will be transported to the Murray Energy Corp. reclamation site near Moundsville in West Virginia.

Alpha Natural Resources

West Virginia regulators have settled a lawsuit brought against Alpha Natural Resources over concerns about the coal producer's reclamation obligations as it emerges from bankruptcy.

Cheat River
TimK MSI / Wikimedia Commons

The Cheat River flows pale green and slate gray, glistening in the sunshine as it gathers speed, turns to whitewater and drops between rocks on the way toward the Monongahela River. From there it makes its way to the Ohio River and the drinking water of millions of people. As West Virginia pushes toward an uncertain economic future, a river that once flowed bright orange charts a course out of mining's toxic legacies.

Coal Stock Pile
www.mine-engineer.com

Just months after emerging from bankruptcy, Alpha Natural Resources has revealed $100 million in what it calls "unaccounted for obligations," causing West Virginia regulators to worry that the burden puts the company at further risk of financial failure. The Alpha disclosure, made in a recent bankruptcy court filing, has increased fears about there being adequate money available to complete proper reclamation on hundreds of Alpha mining permits across West Virginia, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

A recent breakdown at an Ohio River dam served as a wake-up call about the aging infrastructure that keeps river commerce flowing. The Ohio is one of the country’s busiest working rivers and some navigation controls are approaching the century mark. I went to see these ailing structures and a new multi-billion dollar project in the works. Critical Stretch of River Barges are once again moving through this section of the Ohio near Paducah, Kentucky, after a failure at the aging Lock and Dam...

Last month the Coalfield Development Corporation and Solar Holler announced they would expand an already existing partnership to help transition miners from coal jobs into a new industry. The announcement meant a new training facility at West Edge in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Huntington, but will work with laid off miners throughout the state’s southern coalfields. The Huntington solar training institute is just one of many training programs that the Coalfield Development Corporation...

Jeff Bright

Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt is no stranger to the political scene. She spent 8 years as a state legislator in the ’ 80s into the ’ 90s. Then she ran for governor and almost won in ’ 96. She made history once, and she’s hoping to do it again.

Grandview
Mackensen / Wikimedia Commons

A nonprofit group is raising money to repair a popular overlook near Grandview National Park. The Register-Herald of Beckley reports that the Turkey Spur overlook was revamped in 2015, but burned as a result of arson a few months later, destroying most of the improvements. A group called Friends of the New River Gorge National River is now trying to raise the money locally to use as matching funds in various grant applications that would fund the overlook repairs.

water faucet
wikimedia

The city of Vienna is back on its own water system and no longer has to rely on Parkersburg's help. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp and Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo on Tuesday morning turned the valve shutting off the water from Parkersburg to Vienna after almost six months of use.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal judge has tentatively approved a $151 million settlement involving two companies sued over a 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water in southern West Virginia. U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver approved the proposed deal Monday afternoon after more than two hours of closed-door negotiations on the wording of the agreement.

Elk River
Malepheasant / wikimedia Commons

Lawyers say a tentative deal has been reached with West Virginia American Water Co in a class-action case over the company's handling of the 2014 water crisis in the Kanawha Valley. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports no details were made public, but a judge has scheduled a Monday hearing when attorneys said more information is expected to be available.

Energy, heat, money, thermostat, heat pump, furnace
Dave Mistich via Tableau Public

A federal agency has released nearly $26 million in funding to help low-income families in West Virginia with energy bills and energy-efficiency upgrades. The money comes from The Administration for Children and Families and its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Representatives from energy and manufacturing industries, as well as policy makers came to Wheeling this week to talk about infrastructure challenges in the region.

Wikimedia commons / Brandon W. Holmes

The state commerce secretary, a congressman and the Republican nominee for governor are headlining an energy conference in northern West Virginia. The Consumer Energy Alliance's West Virginia Energy and Manufacturing Forum will take place Wednesday at the Oglebay Conference Center in Wheeling.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Jury selection begins Tuesday in Charleston in the class-action lawsuit against a chemical company and a water utility. The trial over a 2014 chemical spill that resulted in the contamination of more than 300,000 people’s drinking water is set to begin this week.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For more than half a century along the Ohio River, the chemical company DuPont provided jobs for thousands of people. One chemical they produced is PFOA , commonly known as C8. It was a remarkably useful compound, used in “Teflon” non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and even in some food wrappers.

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