Energy & Environment

Courtesy: Shell Chemicals

Legislators from Ohio and West Virginia are hoping to capitalize on the natural gas boom by building a new ethane storage hub in the region.

pipeline
AP Photo/Sergii Ryzhkov

The State Historic Preservation Office says a natural gas pipeline project across Ohio hasn't honored an agreement to pay for harm done to historic properties.

The Repository in Canton reports the Rover Pipeline agreed to pay $1.5 million annually for five years but hasn't made the first payment, which was due two months ago. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction over the project and has been asked to handle the dispute.

stars
wikimedia

Stargazers are being invited to watch the sky over central West Virginia this weekend.

The fourth annual Calhoun Stargaze is set for Friday through Sunday at the Calhoun County Park in Grantsville. The park is known for its pitch-dark conditions for favorable nighttime viewing.

Coal has long had a grip on American politics. That's why politicians worry about its fate. They tout the fossil fuel's contribution to the U.S. economy, but lately they've also been trying to find a way to clean up coal's image.

"HydroFrac2" by Mikenorton - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HydroFrac2.svg#mediaviewer/File:HydroFrac2.svg

A study from Duke University found no evidence that groundwater is threatened by horizontal gas drilling. Surface water might be another story.

Melissa Thomas Van Gundy at the  Fernow Experimental Forest in Tucker County, W.Va.
Jean Sendegar / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Editor's Note: This story is part of an occasional series from independent producer Jean Snedegar about the timber and forest products industry here in the Mountain State – from seedlings to final products.

One of the oldest and largest industries in West Virginia is the timber and wood products industry.  West Virginia is rich in this renewable natural resource, but the housing downturn that began 10 years ago hit the industry hard. 

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The CEO of the nation’s biggest public utility said Tuesday that the agency isn’t going to reopen coal-fired power plants under President Donald Trump, who has promised a comeback for the downtrodden coal industry.

Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson said he thinks very little will actually change for the federal utility under Trump.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

Critics say DuPont has spent too little on testing Ohio and West Virginia residents for contamination from a chemical used to make Teflon, while paying millions to a lawyer overseeing the testing program.

The Columbus Dispatch reports DuPont spent about $860,000 on testing over a 2 ½-year period for contamination from the chemical used to make Teflon at its Washington Works plant, along the Ohio River.

Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

rattlesnake
TimVickers / Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife officials are asking West Virginians to let them know when they see timber rattlesnakes as part of a scientific project to determine their current distribution in the state.

According to the Division of Natural Resources, rattlesnakes are a critical part of healthy forest ecosystems and hunt mice and chipmunks, helping reduce the human risk of contracting Lyme disease and other diseases spread by the small mammals.

Peabody Energy, Inc. / Wikimedia Commons

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exports could take up some slack. But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback.


Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Despite what the calendar says, winter isn't over just yet in West Virginia.

The National Weather Service says up to 6 inches of snow is possible starting Thursday night in parts of the state's eastern and northern mountains as well as the Greenbrier Valley.

House Committee on Natural Resources

Professionals and experts from Kentucky, West Virginia and Montana testified in Washington, D.C., today about a bill designed to diversify economies in coal regions.


Black Lung Update: Federal Researchers Seek Allies in Appalachia

Apr 5, 2017
Researchers present findings on the return of black lung disease.
Benny Becker / Ohio Valley ReSource

Federal health researchers are visiting health clinics and medical schools in the Appalachian coalfields to recruit allies in the fight a resurgence of black lung disease. The worst form of the disease may affect as much as 5 percent of experienced working miners in the region, and the researchers fear that rate could be even higher among retired miners.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

West Virginia environmental authorities have issued a water quality certification for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry natural gas down the center of West Virginia for 195 miles.

The certification required by the Federal Clean Water Act concerns impact on West Virginia waters.

The Department of Environmental Protection says project impacts will require the builder to purchase credits to be used to improve streams and wetlands around the state.

White House video

Coal country’s economic woes took center stage at the Environmental Protection Agency as  President Donald Trump signed an executive order to undo parts of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy.


Fire, Forest FIre
Fæ / Wikimedia Commons

A New River Gorge National River official says a prescribed fire is planned for Friday.

The burn is to occur in an oak woodland area in the Grandview area of the park.

David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

West Virginia environmental officials say coal slurry leaked into Crooked Run near Peytona in Boone County, south of Charleston. 

 

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says a leaking water treatment tank in eastern Kanawha County isn't believed to have affected drinking water and no fish kill was observed.

The agency says the initial investigation indicates the leak reported Monday was caused by two small-caliber bullet holes in the tank, believed to have occurred after Thursday evening.

WVDOT

The West Virginia Department of Highways Power company and FirstEnergy Corp. are preparing for the winter storm expected to hit West Virginia and the Northeast tonight and tomorrow.

The National Weather Service is expecting up to 20 inches of snowfall in the mountainous regions of the eastern part of the state.  Up to a foot of snow is possible in parts of northern West Virginia starting Monday night.

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