Energy & Environment

5:14 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Sen. Manchin on Crude-By-Rail Safety: 'I Want to See Progress'

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he’ll speak with other members of Senate Commerce Committee about crude-by-rail safety following last week’s train derailment in Fayette County.

During a conference call with reporters Monday, Manchin said he has “no qualms” about asking the Senate to conduct a full investigation into the incident once he's spoken to other senators with information on the issue.

Manchin cited a U.S. Department of Transportation study that predicts up to 10 Bakken crude derailments each year given the increase in shipments. He noted nearly 11,000 carloads were shipped in the country in 2009 and increased to nearly 100,000 in just the first quarter of 2013. He said those figures are cause for an increase in concern regarding crude-by-rail safety.

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12:27 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Va. Fines CSX $361,000 for April 2014 Lynchburg Derailment

Firefighters and rescue personnel work along the tracks where several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire along the James River in Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, April 30, 2014.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

  Virginia environmental officials are proposing a $361,000 fine against CSX Transportation for an April 2014 train derailment that dumped nearly 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil into the James River in Lynchburg.

The state Department of Environmental Quality announced the proposed consent order with the rail company on Monday. The April 30 derailment saw 17 cars derail, with three going into the river and one catching fire.

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Oil & Gas
9:57 am
Mon February 23, 2015

New York Report Analyzes Industry Science Behind Fracking

Credit Adam Zyglis / The Buffalo News

  A new report released in the wake of New York State's decision to ban the horizontal gas drilling process known as fracking analyzes more than 100 scientific studies that have been approved and distributed by oil and gas industry representatives.

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Train Derailment
10:16 am
Fri February 20, 2015

One Lane Reopens of Route 61 Near Train Derailment

Credit U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier

Authorities have partially reopened a stretch of road where an oil train derailed in southern West Virginia.

One lane of state Route 61 reopened Friday in Montgomery. It was blocked off after Monday's fiery crash in the nearby town of Mount Carbon.

About 225 people had been forced out from 100 homes along the road. It wasn't known whether the residents were being allowed back in their homes for good. A spokesman for multiple agencies responding to the crash didn't immediately return a telephone message Friday.

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Train Derailment
1:18 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

What We Know Three Days After the Fayette Co. Oil Train Derailment

Credit U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Angie Vallier

Investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are on the scene of Monday's oil train derailment near Mount Carbon, W.Va. The incident sparked massive fireballs stretching hundreds of feet in the air. One home was destroyed in the incident and the homeowner was treated for smoke inhalation and then released. 

1. Some initial reports from the scene turned out to be incorrect.

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5:30 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Former NTSB Official: ‘Everybody’s Got To Do Better’ With Crude-By-Rail Transport

Peter Goelz, Senior Vice President at O’Neill and Associates, is also a former Managing Director of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

After Monday's CSX train derailment in Fayette County, attention has turned to a national discussion regarding the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.

Peter Goelz is a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board. His responsibilities at the NTSB included leading the day-to-day operations of the agency and serving as chief policy advisor to the chairman. He is now senior vice president of O'Nell and Associates, a firm offering government relations and communications services related to a variety of industries, including transportation.

You can stream audio of an interview with Goelz  or read highlights below:

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Danny Webb Construction
3:50 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

DEP Postpones Public Hearing Concerning Lochgelly Waste Site, Again

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is rescheduling a public hearing on two permit renewal applications for the second time. The public hearing is around applications for an underground injection control (UIC) facility near Lochgelly in Fayette County. 

In an email, the DEP said the meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 19 in Oak Hill has been postponed a  due to inclement weather conditions.

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Train Derailment
11:51 am
Wed February 18, 2015

West Virginia Oil Train 1 of 3 that Recently Derailed with Tank Cars Meeting Safer Standards

Credit Office of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin

  The fiery derailment of a train carrying crude oil in West Virginia is one of three in the past year involving tank cars that already meet a higher safety standard than what federal law requires — leading some to suggest even tougher requirements that industry representatives say would be costly.

Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after cars derailed from a train carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude Monday, shooting fireballs into the sky, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning down a house nearby. It was snowing at the time, but it is not yet clear if weather was a factor.

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Around the Nation
6:56 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Fiery W.Va. Derailment Prompts More Concern About Transporting Oil

Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 7:08 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



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Fayette Train Derailment
12:48 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

WVU Tech Cancels Classes For Remainder of Week due to Train Derailment

Credit West Virginia University

WVU Tech has canceled classes for the rest of the week  of Monday, February 17, and campus residents will be provided off-site accommodations.

The cancelation is due to a water intake closure following a train derailment along the Fayette-Kanawha county line which spilled crude oil into the Kanawha River,

Here is the full release:

WVU Tech Cancels Classes following Off-Campus Incident

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8:37 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Five Things to Know About the Fayette Co. Train Derailment

Credit Courtesy Photo / Mike King

On Monday, a 109-car CSX train derailed along the Fayette-Kanawha county line, causing crude oil to spill into the Kanawha River, giant fireballs to stretch hundreds of feet into the air and one home to catch fire.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has placed Fayette and Kanawha counties under a state of emergency as emergency officials continue to respond.

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7:32 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Freedom Industries' Bankruptcy at Crossroads

Credit Aaron Payne / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

  A federal bankruptcy judge is calling for parties to meet to discuss how to conclude the case of Freedom Industries, whose January 2014 chemical spill caused a tap-water ban for 300,000 people for days.

The Charleston Gazette reports Judge Ronald Pearson scheduled a March 3 status conference in the case.

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Train Derailment
5:10 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Where to Seek Shelter in Fayette County

Kanawha County Emergency Management tweeted out this photo of the fire burning in the Kanawha River Monday afternoon.
Credit Kanawha County Emergency Management

After a train derailment near the Fayette- Kanawha County line Monday afternoon, residents within a half mile radius of Armstrong Creek Road are being asked to evacuate their homes, according to a press release from the West Virginia State Police. 

A representative of a West Virginia chapter of the American Red Cross says some shelters have been made available, but Red Cross workers who were attempting to set up an overnight shelter at Valley High School in Smithers were not able to reach the location as of 5 p.m. Monday.

The Red Cross will continue to try to reach the location, but Valley High is open to evacuees as a place to stay warm.

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2:19 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Train Derails in Fayette County, Leaks Crude Oil Into Kanawha River

Credit Courtesy Photo Kaitlin Coleman

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has placed Fayette and Kanawha counties under a state of emergency following a train derailment Monday afternoon in western Fayette County.

The accident, involving a 109-car CSX  train traveling from North Dakota to Yorktown, Va., occurred along Route 61, causing a fire in the small community of Armstrong Creek.

Those in the area are being asked to conserve water while intakes are shut down as a result of crude oil from the tankers having leaked into the Kanawha River. 

Residents within a half-mile radius of the derailment and fire are being evacuated by State Police. Fires caused by the derailment have taken out main power lines and created the need for longer term housing, according to a late Monday night release from the Fayette County Office of Emergency Management. 

 State Police Sgt. Bennett with the Beckley detachment confirmed one of his officers arrived on scene around 1:30 Monday afternoon to at least one CSX crude oil car off the track.  In a news release, CSX said on person was being treated for potential inhalation. They say no other injuries have been reported and the cause of the accident is under investigation. 

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Public Health
10:40 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Health Effects of “Climate Disruption” Discussed at WVU

Brent McCusker, PhD; Yong-Lak Park, PhD; Heather Basara, PhD

  “Climate Change and Population Health” was the title of a recent discussion at West Virginia University. Three panelists, a social scientist, an entomologist, and a public health expert turned over research and health concerns related to that research on climate change - or as the discussion moderator, Interim Chair of the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Leadership in the WVU School of Public Health, Robert Duval, was more apt to call it: Climate Disruption.

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Energy & Environment
5:10 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Proposed W.Va. Natural Gas Plant Gets Site Certificate from PSC

  State regulators have granted a site certificate for a proposed natural gas-fired power plant in Moundsville.

According to the West Virginia Public Service Commission, the 549-megawatt plant would cost about $615 million and is expected to be operational by August 2018.

The PSC issued an air quality permit to Moundsville Power LLC for the plant in December and granted the site certificate on Friday.

The plant will be located on a 37 1/2-acre site along the Ohio River where a chemical manufacturer was once located. 

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Tanker Accident
1:31 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

I-64 Reopened After Tanker Accident

Credit CZmarlin / wikimedia Commons

Traffic is moving again on Interstate 64 in Cabell County 12 hours after a tanker-truck accident.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation says in a statement that both eastbound and westbound sections reopened on Friday afternoon.

Media outlets report the tanker rolled over at about 3:15 a.m. between the Milton and Barboursville exits, forcing traffic to be diverted off the interstate.

Milton Volunteer Fire Chief Brent Taylor says the tanker was carrying propane, which didn't leak and was transferred to another vehicle.

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Energy & Environment
11:45 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Public Comment Period Ends Friday

Credit Dominion Resources

  Friday is the last day to comment on whether surveys for a proposed natural gas pipeline should be allowed in the Monongahela National Forest.

The proposed 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline would run through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Its path includes about 17 miles through the national forest in Pocahontas and Randolph counties in West Virginia.

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Chemical Leak
9:19 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Updated: Glycolic Acid Leak Reported at Plant in Belle

Credit Department of Environmental Protection

West Virginia environmental workers responded to a glycolic acid leak at a chemical plant in Belle.

Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelly Gillenwater says a team was dispatched to monitor the area around the DuPont plant after Wednesday's incident.

Gillenwater tells the Charleston Gazette the leak occurred when DuPont employees turned on a piece of equipment that had been shut down for maintenance.

DuPont blamed the leak on an equipment failure.

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Water Safety
6:47 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Activists Say Weakening of Tank Bill Puts Water Supply at Risk

Activist Karan Ireland speaks as a group holds a clean water banner during a press conference at the state Capitol.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Groups lobbying for strong regulations to protect that state’s water resources gathered at the Capitol Monday to tell lawmakers not to pass a bill they say will gut the above ground storage tank legislation passed last year.

The West Virginia Safe Water Roundtable, comprised of multiple citizen action groups and affiliated with the Our Children, Our Future Campaign, spoke out against House Bill 2574.

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