Energy & Environment

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Details remain scant about a deal announced with China Energy to invest nearly $84 billion in the West Virginia natural gas and petrochemical industries in West Virginia during the next 20 years. The deal, which makes up roughly a third of China Energy’s total proposed investments across the country, came during President Donald Trump’s visit last week to Beijing.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, several lawmakers from the Ohio Valley region have joined a bipartisan push to fund what’s called carbon capture and storage. That technology can strip CO2 from power plant emissions. But it is also extremely expensive.

Glynis Board spoke with a journalist who just spent a year traveling around the world to explore the topic.

A bipartisan group in Congress, including several Ohio Valley lawmakers, is pushing for more federal support for poorly understood technology known as carbon capture and storage. The lawmakers and an uncommon alliance of labor, business, and environmental groups want to pass legislation called the FUTURE Act which would speed commercial deployment of technology that reduces carbon dioxide emissions from industries that burn fossil fuels.

Such technology has been in development for decades. Today, a number of commercial-scale projects exist demonstrating various technologies that  “scrub” CO2 from the waste stream and store it underground are possible. However, scaling those projects up to levels that would affect the atmosphere in significant ways is still prohibitively expensive.

Adobe Stock images/WVPB grpahic illustration

One of the major developments out of President Trump’s visit to Asia: A deal with China to invest $250 billion in the U.S.  The largest portion of investment comes from the world’s biggest power company, which plans to invest in West Virginia’s natural gas industry.

Wood County 911


It’s been more than two weeks since an industrial fire began in Parkersburg at a recycled plastics warehouse and burned for more than eight days. It’s still largely unknown what exactly burned that week, which continues to raise concerns for some over how the fire impacted the area's air quality.

Two air quality experts say, after reviewing air monitoring results from a variety of responding agencies, efforts by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection weren’t thorough enough to determine potential threats to public safety.

Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Developers of a proposed natural gas pipeline are suing hundreds of landowners in two states to gain rights of way granted by federal regulations.

Mountain Valley Pipeline lawyers filed federal court complaints in Charleston, West Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia to obtain easements through eminent domain rights, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Thursday.

Courtesy of Wood County 911

West Virginia emergency officials say federal guidance following the warehouse fire that smoldered for more than a week in South Parkersburg shows spikes in the soot initially detected in the air.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

West Virginia environmental regulators on Wednesday lifted their suspension of the permit for building the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry natural gas down the center of the state.

The pipeline would extend south for 195 miles in north-central West Virginia through 11 counties to the Virginia state line and nearly 110 miles through six counties in that state.

Wood County 911

An industrial fire that burned for more than eight days in Parkersburg has been extinguished, but questions remain as state officials investigate the incident.

Wood County 911

Officials in Parkersburg say a fire at a warehouse storing recycled plastics has been extinguished after burning for eight-and-a-half days. 

The exact contents of the warehouse have yet to be released. Officials say materials data that was initially handed over by the property owner is outdated and other documentation was destroyed in the fire. 

We Have Questions: Seeking Explanation for Halted Mining Impact Study in Appalachia

Oct 29, 2017
Chart of average age-adjusted number of annual deaths per 100,000 due to cancer from 1997 to 2007 showing that nearly all counties with mountaintop removal mining are above the national average.
Graphic courtesy Appalachian Voices

In a move officials say is meant to "ensure the proper and responsible allocation of taxpayers’ money," a forthcoming study on the public health impacts of mountaintop removal mining titled, “Potential Human Health Effects of Surface Coal Mining Operations in Central Appalachia" was cancelled in August, leaving behind an unaccounted for $400,000 of remaining funding.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the latest on the fire in Wood County, see here.

West Virginia regulators on Thursday ordered the Maryland company that owns a South Parkersburg warehouse that burned for days to disclose what materials were consumed by the flames and to spell out plans for disposing of the debris properly.

Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition says its founder, Dianne Bady, has died of cancer.

The environmental and social justice group started by Bady in 1987 announced her death in a statement Tuesday. She was 67.

Harry Schaefer, Environmental Protection Agency / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia's U.S. Senators say a $1.3 million grant from the federal Office of Fossil Energy will go to the West Virginia University Research Corp. to support efforts to develop sensors that monitor corrosion in coal-fired power generation boilers.

Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

The nation’s biggest electric grid operator said a Trump administration plan to change the way electricity is priced to reward coal and nuclear power is both unworkable and potentially against the law.

PJM Interconnection, which operates the grid covering 65 million people from Illinois to Washington, D.C., submitted formal comments on the plan late Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Environmental advocates are urging West Virginia's Public Service Commission to reject two power companies' proposal to pay $195 million for a 37-year-old coal-fired power plant, saying it will saddle 530,000 ratepayers with the expenses and market risks.

Photo courtesy of Wood County 911

For the latest on the fire in Wood County, see here.

Wood County is under a state of emergency as an industrial fire continues to burn at a warehouse just outside Parkersburg city limits. Gov. Jim Justice joined state and county officials to discuss ongoing efforts to put the fire out and to address residents’ health concerns.

Still, a lot of questions remain about the incident and how it might affect residents of the surrounding area. Here’s what we know (and what we don’t know):

Seeing God’s Hand in the Deadly Floods, Yet Wondering about Climate Change

Oct 24, 2017
White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
Meera Subramanian / Insideclimate News

Jake Dowdy is a police officer in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where he lived a block from Howard Creek, a stream so inconsequential you could usually hop-skip across parts of it without wetting your toes.

Kasey Jones/ Jonesborough Farmers Market

A series of training seminars will be held around West Virginia aimed at boosting farmers markets and farm production.

The first seminar will be held Tuesday at the Country Inn in Berkeley Springs. Additional seminars are scheduled for Nov. 9 at Jackson's Mill near Jane Lew and for Dec. 14 at the State Fairgrounds in Fairlea.

EPA Limits Use Of Problematic Herbicide Dicamba

Oct 16, 2017
Nicole Erwin / Ohio Valley Resource

The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to some limits on the use of a controversial herbicide called dicamba, which farmers throughout the region have blamed for crop damage. A change to the label on the chemical will restrict sales of dicamba to certified users. 

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