Energy & Environment

Freedom Industries
Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  Prosecutors oppose a motion by former executives asking a judge to move their criminal case over a chemical spill.

In Charleston federal court Thursday, prosecutors wrote that ex-Freedom Industries officials Gary Southern and Dennis Farrell didn't sufficiently prove that public sentiment over a water crisis is so prejudiced that fair and impartial jurors can't be found in southern West Virginia.

water faucet
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The Environmental Protection Agency has clarified a rule in the Clean Water Act that adds protection for the thousands of miles of streams that feed into West Virginia’s drinking water source. But West Virginia's U.S. senators are speaking out against it.

Clay Scott / High Plains News

West Virginia University researchers predict that state coal production will drop 39 percent compared with the industry's last high point in 2008.

The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research released a report Thursday assessing coal production outlook over the next 20 years.

Energy Corporation of America

Operators of future underground injection wells in Fayette County will have to obtain a permit from the county.

The County Commission on Wednesday amended the county's development code to require county permits for injection wells and holding ponds.

water faucet
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A water company had to delay repairs to a water main and retracted a statement for Charleston residents to limit water use.

The Charleston Gazette reports West Virginia American Water sent a request Wednesday morning to its customers to restrict water usage while the company made repairs to a 36-inch water main. A sinkhole appeared in the area May 18.

Mingo County, Williamson
Flonight / wikimedia Commons

A crew from Coalfield Development Corp. that's remodeling a former warehouse in Williamson, West Virginia, is part of a broad effort to tackle empty or unkempt buildings in Appalachia.

 

Rural blight is a legacy of the coal industry's boom-and-bust nature in many communities in West Virginia and its neighbors.

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.

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