Energy & Environment

While surrounded by coal-state lawmakers and coal miners, President Trump signed a bill this week that rolls back an environmental rule designed to protect streams from coal mining debris.


aquaponics
Steven Walling / Wikimedia Commons

A free workshop is being offered next week on aquaponic growing, a method that allows fish and vegetables to be raised together in a closed system.

West Virginia State University Extension Service is hosting the workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 25 at the Buffalo High School Greenhouse in Buffalo.

The chemical giant DuPont made an offer Monday to pay more than half-a-billion dollars to settle water contamination lawsuits pending in federal court.


Logan County, Map
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

West Virginia mine safety authorities say a 54-year-old coal truck driver has died from injuries he suffered last week in Logan County.

The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says the loaded truck driven by Franklin Vannoy Jr. of Delbarton unexpectedly overturned while he was delivering coal to the Greenbrier Minerals Elk Lick Loadout dump site about 7:25 a.m. on Feb. 3.

pipeline
AP Photo/Sergii Ryzhkov

Environmental activists crowded a TransCanada open house Thursday in western Maryland, blocking access to displays about the company's proposed pipeline beneath the Potomac River to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to West Virginia.

Protest leaders pledged a sustained campaign against the project, planned by the same Canadian energy company behind the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

DuPont's Washington Works
Parkersburg News & Sentinel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an order expanding the area for required testing of water wells for the chemical C8.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that C8 was used for years to manufacture Teflon at a Wood County DuPont plant. A science panel has since discovered a link between C8 and illnesses, including certain cancers.

Energy Transfer

A federal agency has approved construction plans for one of the major natural gas pipelines planned in the region. The 4.2 billion dollar Rover pipeline project is slated to begin phase one of construction this year.


The creek where the WVU Stream Lab team dropped their sensors. Save the Tygart Watershed Association has been keeping tabs on the waterway since before the coal slurry pond was installed nearby.
Colleen S. Good / WVU Stream Lab Project

Republicans in Washington are making good on promises to overrule a regulation from the Obama Administration with support of West Virginia’s delegation. The rule was designed to protect streams from coal mining debris.

Patrick Ford (in red) and Assistant Director Marvin Six of the Brooke-Hancock Business Development Corporation at the abandoned and contaminated pottery plant in 2012.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Ford

One of the Trump Administration’s first moves once in office was to freeze all grants issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That move raised a lot of questions and a further directive limiting public statements from the EPA added to the confusion.

wikimedia

Edward Maguire II has been appointed environmental advocate for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP Secretary Austin Caperton announced Maguire's appointment Tuesday.

Underground Fires, Toxins in Unfunded Cleanup of Old Mines

Jan 28, 2017
Rob Rice, left, chief of the West Virginia Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation, and planner Jonathan Knight check on the smoldering underground fire at a long-abandoned coal mine in Preston County, W.Va.
Michael Virtanen / Associated Press

PRESTON COUNTY — An underground coal mine fire burns beneath a sprawling hillside in West Virginia, the pale, acrid smoke rising from gashes in the scarred, muddy earth only a stone's throw from some houses.

 

The fire, which may have started with arson, lightning or a forest fire, smoldered for several years before bursting into flames last July in rural Preston County. The growing blaze moved the mine to the top of a list of thousands of problem decades-old coal sites in West Virginia awaiting cleanup and vying for limited federal funds.

 

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The new head of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection fired two workers responsible for interacting with the public.

Chief communications director Kelley Gillenwater as well as environmental advocate Wendy Radcliff were both fired at the DEP. Radcliff’s role was largely to facilitate any problems or concerns between communities and the agency. Both positions are mandated by state law.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was enthusiastic in his support of President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. During his Senate confirmation hearing today on Capitol Hill, Rick Perry said his views of the agency have changed.


Cliff Owen / AP Photo

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt faced questions from Senators in his confirmation hearing Wednesday.

AP images

Two nominees for the new administration who could have a lot of influence in our region will be on Capitol Hill this week.  President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for secretary of commerce and the  Environmental Protection Agency both have confirmation hearings in the Senate.

Aaron Schackelford / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The billionaire Wilbur Ross is headed for Senate confirmation hearings as President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of Commerce. Ross made it to ultra-rich status in part by salvaging coal and steel assets in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. His business dealings leave a mixed legacy in the Ohio Valley region, from rescued steel mills to the site of a searing workplace disaster, and raise questions about the leadership he would bring to the president’s cabinet.  

 

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

A conference at Marshall University will focus on long-term recovery efforts following last summer's devastating flooding in West Virginia.

The conference will be held Friday at Marshall's Brad D. Smith Foundation Hall in Huntington.

A New Disease Strikes Oak Trees in W.Va.

Jan 9, 2017
Danielle Martin, U.S. Forest Service, Coopers Rock State Forest, oak trees, oak
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Last fall, Danielle Martin, a forest pathologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Morgantown, and her colleagues noticed something different about the oak trees in Seneca State Forest. The trees secreted an amber-colored sap, and bore cankers - which look like canker sores - underneath their bark. 

Jessica Lilly

The economy in southern West Virginia is suffering due to the collapsing of the coal industry and it’s not hard to find reports of layoffs. But an international coal company called ArcelorMittal Princeton is expanding operations at a McDowell County mine bringing 50 to 75 jobs back to the region.


Winter Weather 1/5
weather.gov

Much of the state is under a Winter Weather Advisory Thursday as snow is expected to move into the region throughout the day. 

The Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect until 6 a.m. Friday, as parts of the state will see 2-4 inches of snow. 

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