Energy & Environment

Inside Appalachia
3:39 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Coal Co. Operating Above the Law, Revitalizing Coal Country, 14-Year-Old TN Banjo Picker & more

Credit Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

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Inside Appalachia
6:26 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Coal Co. Operating Above the Law, Revitalizing Coal Country, 14-Year-Old TN. Banjo Picker & more

Credit Courtesy of the Meade family

Perfect for your Thanksgiving road-trip: Fifty-one minutes of some great Appalachian stories, including: NPR's mine safety investigation continues. Where is the the mine with the highest delinquent fines in the U.S.? What happens when mines don’t pay their fines? And an update from the Appalachian Project, and how a financial adviser in Johnson City, TN decided to begin recording oral histories across Appalachia. These stories and more, in this week's episode of Inside Appalachia.

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Energy & Environment
10:55 am
Fri November 21, 2014

W.Va. to Open Bids on Wildlife Land Fracking

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania Route 118 in eastern Moreland Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, USA
Credit Ruhrfisch [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) / Wikimedia Commons

  

West Virginia officials are unveiling offers to frack under wildlife conservation land in Tyler County.

On Friday in Charleston, the state Department of Commerce will publicly open bids for oil and natural gas rights under Conaway Run Wildlife Management Area.

The bid deadline on the 518 acres was Thursday. A 20-percent royalty on what's extracted is required.

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Carbon Regulations
4:15 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Colorado Skiers: Powder, Not Power Plants

Supporters made the announcement on the sidewalk in front of the Regional EPA building in Denver.
Credit http://www.snowridersinternational.org

As the ski season opens, more than 115 snow and mountain supporters across the country have signed letters in support of bold action by the Environmental Protection Agency to curb power plant emissions.

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Black Lung
2:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Rockefeller Introduces Black Lung Legislation

Credit Department of Labor

Senator Jay Rockefeller co-sponsored legislation to address barriers and delays miners face when seeking benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Program.

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Developing
1:53 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Blankenship Pleads Not Guilty, Bond Set at $5 Million

Sketches of Don Blankenship and his attorney during arraignment hearing.
Credit Sketch artist Jesse Corlis

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship stood with three attorneys as he pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Beckley. Blankenship was indicted on charges of conspiring to violate mine safety rules and then lying about it.  Blankenship appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort.   

Families Can't Hide Their Emotions

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Environment
6:58 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Are Flooded Mines Polluting Water?

A long-awaited environmental impact report concludes that concentrations of iron and sulfate collecting in underground pools could pollute the Potomac River and its surrounding groundwater.

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Government
12:52 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

McKinley Named Vice Chair of Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight Subcommittee

David McKinley, member of US House of Representatives, March 2012
Credit United States Congress

Republican Congressman David McKinley has been named vice chair of an Energy and Commerce Committee oversight subcommittee.

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Indictment
10:34 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Blankenship Ordered to Appear for Arraignment, Gag Order Set

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

A federal Magistrate has denied former Massey CEO Don Blankenship’s request to delay arraignment proceedings.

According to court records, Magistrate Judge R. Clarke VanDervort denied Blankenship’s request to postpone his initial court appearance. VanDervort ordered Blankenship to appear in court, surrender his passport, prepare to meet and discuss his financial circumstances, and other actions to prepare for court proceedings.

The former Massey CEO  is set to be arraigned in federal court on Thursday. The former leader of what was once one of the largest coal producers in the country Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship was indicted by the United States Attorney’s Office on two mine safety charges, lying to the securities and exchange commission and securities fraud.

The decision to proceed this week with his arraignment comes days after the judge presiding over Blankenship’s criminal case issued a gag order for the parties involved.

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Environment and Safety
2:20 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

DEP Official: Radiation Levels in Fracking Waste Safe

Mike Dorsey, director of emergency management and homeland security, presented the preliminary report findings Monday.
Credit Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

State lawmakers were updated Monday morning on a study the Department of Environmental Protection began earlier this year. That study focuses on the level of radioactive material in drill cuttings from horizontal fracking sites.

The West Virginia DEP has tested 15 sites for levels of radioactivity in drilling waste. The test sites included Wetzel County’s landfill, an Ohio water treatment plant, and multiple drilling sites in counties in North Central West Virginia.

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Environment
12:46 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

DEP: Yellow Liquid On Elk River A Result of A Broken Sewer Line, Water Intake Restored

The grey area highlighted is the approximate location where the yellow substance was spotted.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 4:38 p.m.

West Virginia American Water is returning service to its Kanawha Valley water treatment plant following a sewer line break Thursday on the Elk River above the plant intake. A yellow substance was reported shortly after noon and the company shut down the plant following notification from Metro 911. 

The company says they've consulted with the West Virginia West Virginia Bureau for Public Health about the decision to return service and they continue to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection and first responders. 

West Virginia American Water says the treatment process will be augmented with additional powdered activated carbon.

According to a news release, the company says plant operators have increased  the frequency of testing for: 

  •  total coliform (an indicator of bacteria),
  • pH, conductivity
  • and are continuously monitoring for free chlorine (disinfection).  

The company says they were notified that approximately three gallons of water-based road paint in the sewer system likely caused the yellow color at the site of the sewer line break. The Bureau for Public Health and water quality experts reviewed a MSDS sheet of the paint provided by the City of Charleston and determined it did not pose any threats.

Updated on Friday, November, 14 at 2:46 p.m.

West Virginia American Water spokeswoman Laura Jordan said the shut down their Elk River intake around noon after being notified about the situation.  She says company officials are working with the DEP, first responders and other agencies.

Ongoing testing at the treatment plant shows no change in water quality, according to West Virginia American Water.  

Original Post from Friday, November, 14 at 12:46 p.m.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said  that, after consultation with Charleston City officials, it was determined the yellow sheen came from a broken sewer line and the spill "has been contained."

She says West Virginia American  has been notified.

Metro 911 called the report in to the DEP spill line around noon today. A distpatcher there says West Virginia American Water has shut down their Elk River intake.

According to the Charleston Gazette, "the liquid, in a geyser a few feet tall, was on the west side of the river." 

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Chemical Spill
5:29 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Freedom Industries May Clean Less of River Site

Credit AP

  The bankrupt company that leaked a coal processing chemical into Charleston's Elk River in January could reduce the amount of contaminated material it needs to clean from its polluted storage site.

The Charleston Gazette reports that West Virginia state environmental regulators revealed a proposed agreement Thursday in which Freedom Industries would enter a voluntary toxic cleanup program to remediate the site.

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UBB Investigation
4:31 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship Indicted on Four Federal Charges

Credit Brianhayden1980 / wikimedia Commons

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted on four federal charges Thursday. The charges stem from a years-long investigation led by the FBI and the United States Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General into an April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine owned by Massey that killed 29 miners. 

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4:14 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Longtime Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship Indicted

Lead in text: 
As The Charleston Gazete's Ken Ward reports, former Massey Enegry CEO Don Blankenship was indicted Thursday on federal charges that he violated mine safety laws at the Upper Big Mine before an April 2010 explosion killed 29 miners. The indictident comes from a years-long investigation from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office in West Virginia's Southern Distict.
  • Source: Wvgazette
  • | Via: The Charleston Gazette
Don Blankenship, the longtime chief executive of Massey Energy, was indicted today on charges that he violated federal mine safety laws at the company's Upper Big Branch Mine prior to an April 2010 explosion that killed 29 miners. U.S.
Investigating Delinquent Mine Fines
6:01 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Investigating Delinquent Mines: The Story Behind The Story

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch and Howard Berkes at Southern Coal's Tams No. 1 Surface Mine near Beckley.
Credit Patrick Graham

Another West Virginia coal miner died this week, the fifth death this year. It's a tough reality in the coalfields where families regularly pray that loved ones will come home from a day's work, as they have for decades.

As incidents are reported, media outlets often share the amount of citations or delinquent fines of the mine where the accident occurred. But to what end?

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Environment
1:30 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Four Ways West Virginia Can Reduce CO2 Emissions

Credit Dave Mistich / Data From U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Can West Virginia reduce CO2 emissions? The short answer, according to a new report, is yes. Will West Virginia reduce CO2 emissions? That's another question...


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News
1:36 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Coal Miner Killed Monday in Monongalia Co. Mining Accident

State regulators say a coal miner is dead following an accident at a Monongalia County mine.

The West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training said Tuesday that 49-year-old Raymond Scott Savage of Maidsville was killed Monday night at Redbone Mining Company's Crawdad No. 1 Mine.

The office says in a news release that Savage was struck by a piece of rock while operating a roof bolting machine. He was a section foreman.

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Economy
12:33 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Hendricks Coal Expects Layoffs at Mingo Mines

  Hendricks Coal expects to lay off 90 workers at three mines and a coal preparation plant in Mingo County.

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Environment
10:01 am
Tue November 11, 2014

West Virginia DEP Approves Union Carbide Site Cleanup Plan

Credit Harry Schaefer, Environmental Protection Agency / wikimedia Commons

  State regulators have approved Union Carbide's plan to clean up a former warehouse and drum storage facility in Charleston.

The Department of Environmental Protection says Union Carbide operated the facilities at the former Kelly Field Site from the late 1940s to the early 1990s. The property is now vacant.

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Mine Closure
1:04 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Alpha Closes McDowell County Mine

Alpha Natural Resources has idled an underground coal mine in southern West Virginia.

Alpha spokesman Steve Hawkins said the shutdown of the Brooks Run South Mining Cucumber operation is considered to be permanent.

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