Energy & Environment

Environment
12:07 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Cheat Canyon Property Bought by Conservation Groups

The canyon is about 1000 feet deep, entirely forested, and well-known for its whitewater. Director of the WV Chapter of the Nature Conservancy Rodney Bartgis says the area is also interesting because it’s home to some rare and endangered earthlings such as the Cheat threetoothed snail, and the Indiana Bat.

A segment of the Cheat Canyon will become a state wildlife management area and a nature preserve.

The 3,800-acre property stretches about 7 miles from Albright's outskirts to a segment of Sandy Creek in northern West Virginia.

The Conservation Fund and the Nature Conservancy bought the property from The Forestland Group. The conservation groups plan to transfer the property to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources over the next two years for establishment of a wildlife management area.

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Chemical Spill
4:14 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Freedom Industries Submits Site Remediation Plan

This photo from the Chemical Safety Board shows the holes in the Freedom Industries tank that allowed the January 9 spill into the Elk River.
Credit @chemsafetyboard / Twitter

Freedom Industries has submitted its remediation plan to the state Department of Environmental Protection to address environmental conditions at the company’s Charleston storage tank facility. The facility was the site of the Jan. 9 chemical spill of MCHM and PPH into the Elk River. 

The site remediation plan was developed by Civil & Environmental Consultants, a Pennsylvania-based firm also responsible for Freedom's tank decommissioning plan submitted to the DEP in March. It includes a summary of water quality sampling and remedial measures Freedom Industries has already implemented at the spill site.

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Natural Gas Drilling
2:31 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

WV DEP Investigating Tank Rupture in Doddridge County

A tank ruptured at a gas drilling site last week in Doddridge County.
Credit wikimedia

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is still investigating the cause of a tank rupture at a gas well site in Doddridge County last week.

A tank ruptured at an Antero Resources gas drilling site last Friday, causing a small blast. Although no injuries or fire were reported, investigators are trying to figure out what exactly happened. The tank was holding hydraulic fracturing flowback water, says DEP spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater.

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Chemical Leak
7:28 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Wastewater from Freedom Spill Sent to Ohio, North Carolina

Credit AP

Wastewater containing a chemical that spilled into the water supply for 300,000 West Virginians is heading to Ohio and North Carolina.
 
State Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater says Freedom Industries started sending wastewater to an Ohio underground injection control well site this week.
 
The material was vacuumed out of Freedom's tanks and the Elk River. Freedom was storing it at its Nitro facility.
 

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Volunteers welcomed
2:16 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Boy Scouts and Others To Plant Chestnut Trees at Reserve

Consol Energy Bridge, Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, Mt. Hope, WV.
Credit wikimedia commons

Boy Scouts at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Mount Hope will conduct a chestnut tree planting April 19. 

The American Chestnut Foundation says the Scout Reserve is located near the center of the American chestnuts’ historical range in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.

Volunteers will plant several hundred potentially blight resistant chestnut trees provided by the foundation near the west end of the Consol Energy Bridge.

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Utilities
1:28 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

West Virginia American Water Ordered to Remain in Projects

Credit Foo Conner / Flickr

State regulators have ordered West Virginia American Water Company to continue participating in a series of local water extension projects.
 
Monday's ruling by the Public Service Commission came on a complaint filed by five public service districts and several other local agencies. The complaint alleged that West Virginia American Water improperly withdrew from partnerships to expand water service in various areas of the state.
 

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WNPR's Where We Live
1:01 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Update on West Virginia's Elk River Chemical Spill

Elk River, Charleston West Virginia

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 10:22 am

In January, West Virginia’s Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill from a nearby coal processing plant, affecting 300,000 local residents. People were without water for days. Now months later, is the water safe to drink? 

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Recycling
11:42 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Event Service Organization Aims For Zero-Waste Future

Recent Pumpkin Drop event at West Virginia University where Green Earth Event Services diverted hundreds of pounds of waste from landfills and instead sent it to feed pigs at a nearby farm.

Zero-waste events--that’s the goal of one start-up organization in Morgantown. Green Earth Event Services was founded by Morgantown resident Garth Lindley in 2011. The organization provides recycling and composting services and Lindley says that while there's a learning curve among public they interact with,  he's surprised by the overall enthusiasm he receives wherever the organization sets up.

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Chemical Leak
10:07 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Report: Freedom Industries President 'Bears No Fault' in January Spill

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An attorney says the president of a company that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply "bears no fault" for the incident.
 
Gary Southern of Freedom Industries on Friday withdrew an application to get paid for work already completed during bankruptcy proceedings. He wanted Freedom and its insurance to cover his legal fees.
 

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Politics
3:35 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

W.Va. Delegation Joins Gov. Tomblin in Opposition of Cuts to Black Lung Clinics

Credit Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Members of West Virginia's congressional delegation have joined Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in questioning a sharp drop in federal funding for the state's black lung clinics.
 
State officials say grants for the federal Black Lung Clinic program were recently capped without notice at $900,000 per state. West Virginia had been the only state to receive more than that annually. The state received $1.4 million last year.

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Mine Safety
12:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Four Years After UBB: Families of Victims Say It Is Still 'Us' vs. 'Them' in West Virginia Mines

Credit Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Four years after an explosion at the Upper Big Branch killed 29 miners and injured two others, an investigation by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin continues to examine the practices of executives at then-owner Massey Energy. The mine’s current operator, Alpha Natural Resources, has established Running Right, a leadership academy focused on empowering miners to address safety concerns.

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Home Repair
11:43 am
Fri April 4, 2014

They Are Trying To Change The World--One Basement System At A Time

Colin Reger (left) and Randy Shillingburg (right) examine the crawl space in a house.
Credit Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

It's dark. It's damp. It's your basement, or crawl space. And for some people in Clarksburg, it's a labor of love to go down there and find ways to improve energy efficiency.

Basement Systems of West Virginia does work to improve the energy efficiency of homes by encapsulating crawl spaces. That means they take materials, similar to pool liner, and other things to create what they call “clean spaces.”

It’s their hope to improve conditioning and energy efficiency in these dim, dark places.

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5:24 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Freedom Makes Profit in February

Lead in text: 
As Andrea Lannom of the The Charleston Daily Mail reports, Freedom Industries--the company embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings following January's Elk River chemical spill--made more money in February than they anticipated.
Freedom Industries, the company at the heart of the Elk River chemical leak, made more money in February than it expected. Freedom filed its monthly operating report for February earlier this week. The document shows the company expected to bring in about $432,000 from Jan. 17 to Feb. 28.
Appalachian Culture
11:13 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Wheeling Jesuit University Invites Public "Celebration of Appalachia"

Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling just kicked off what will be a month-long celebration of all-things Appalachia. “Celebrate Appalachia” is the name of the series of lectures and events.

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Business
9:08 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Chemical Spill In W. Va. Tests Tolerance For Big Coal

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 10:27 am

Linda Wertheimer talks to Evan Osnos about his New Yorker piece in which he explores how the coal industry has become a political player in the state, and what that could mean for future regulation.

Memorial
10:39 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Event to Honor Upper Big Branch Victims

Credit Mine Safety and Health Administration

Friends and families of victims of a West Virginia mine explosion four years ago are meeting to remember their lost loved ones.
 
A gathering for those affected by the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster will take place Wednesday afternoon in front of the federal courthouse in Charleston. Saturday is the four-year anniversary of the explosion that killed 29 miners.

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12:59 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Is the Water Safe Yet?

Lead in text: 
In this piece from The Atlantic, Marin Cogan details how little was (and still is) known about MCHM, the chemical spilled into the Elk River by Freedom Industries on January 9 and affected the drinking water of West Virginians across nine counties. The story also highlights failures in policy--from state and federal agencies--such as the Department of Environmental Protection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Robert Thaw was in the woods when he first heard the news. Every Thursday night, the Charleston-based surveyor and his friends take their mountain bikes to the Kanawha State Forest for a long, punishing ride to work off stress and energy from the week.
11:31 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Letter from West Virginia: Chemical Valley

Lead in text: 
Evan Osnos of The New Yorker runs through the timeline of January's chemical spill into the Elk River by Freedom Industries, the state's reaction to the situation, and how industry and politics played a part in the decades leading up to the spill as well as in the aftermath.
On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the people of Charleston, West Virginia, awoke to a strange tang in the air off the Elk River. It smelled like licorice. The occasional odor is part of life in Charleston, the state capital, which lies in an industrial area that takes flinty pride in the nickname Chemical Valley.
Environment
6:59 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Review Of West Virginia Water Finds More Work To Be Done

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A group of independent researchers has found that the chemical crude MCHM is still present in some West Virginia homes. That's the coal-cleaning chemical that spilled into the Elk River back in January out of a storage tank operated by the company Freedom Industries. The spill contaminated drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. The research group was formed by West Virginia's governor after public pressure.

Dave Mistich of West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports on the research group's latest findings.

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Waste
6:09 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

MCHM Disposal Ban Case at Hurricane Landfill Dismissed

Credit AP

A judge has dismissed a case that challenged a wastewater permit at a Putnam County landfill after state regulators granted a company's request to end the transport of the wastewater from a Charleston chemical spill.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib dismissed the case Friday.
 

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