Energy & Environment

Downed trees mark the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Deerfield, Va., Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. Work is progressing on clearing a path for the pipeline.
Steve Helber / Associated Press file photo

A federal commission denied a request Wednesday from developers of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline to continue cutting down trees along the project’s route beyond an initial deadline designed to protect birds and bats.

AP Photo/Julio Cortez / Associated Press

As temperatures plunged during the 12-day cold snap that hit just after Christmas, many people across the East Coast reached for their thermostats, which increased demand for electricity.

 

 

Appalachians Against Pipelines

Anti-Mountain Valley Pipeline activists erected an aerial blockade in the middle of an access road in the Jefferson National Forest in Giles County, Virginia.

A pole planted in the middle of an access road is halting any progress on construction of a seven-mile road leading to the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. An activist perched on top of the 50-foot log displays a banner that reads “The Fire is Catching, No Pipelines.”

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, big natural gas pipelines and plants that use that gas are under construction across the region.

Many of those jobs have gone to labor unions, and now unions are using their political clout to advocate for oil and gas. That’s given the gas industry a powerful ally in labor-friendly Pennsylvania. For State Impact Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier reports.

Brittany Greeson / The GroundTruth Project

A federal study that was examining the health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining -- halted last fall by the Trump Administration -- is officially over.

 

President Donald Trump arrives in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 23, 2018, to speak about the $1.3 trillion spending bill which he signed earlier in the day.
AP Photo/ Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press

President Donald Trump Friday signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill funding the federal government through Sept. 30, hours after he threatened to veto the legislation.

Trump’s signature on the more than 2,200-page bill averts a government shutdown. Broadly, the bill rejects many of the White House’s proposed budget cuts and actually boosts spending for both the military and domestic agencies.

Nancy Andrews

It was unexpected to have people sitting in trees in the first place, but several people have been camping in the treetops on Peters Mountain since February 26. It’s all in an effort to stop progress on construction of the 303-mile-long Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

The natural gas pipeline company sought a court injunction, and Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert Irons indicated he was inclined to rule in favor of MVP.  The company only needed to file follow up documentation showing they did, in fact, have proper permissions to cut the trees in West Virginia.

New Study Says Pace of Coal Plant Closures Insufficient to Stop Climate Change

Mar 22, 2018
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein / Associated Press

Coal plant closures are expected to outpace new construction for the first time in the modern era by 2022, but that still might not be enough to meet international emission reduction goals intended to fend off the worst anticipated impacts of climate change.

West Virginia's congressional delegation is urging President Donald Trump to approve Gov. Jim Justice's request for a federal disaster declaration for severe storms in the state in February.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Congressmen David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins wrote to Trump on Wednesday.

Brian M. Powell / Wikimedia

The nation’s largest electric grid operator said a massive coal-fired power plant near Parkersburg can close next January without affecting the region’s power system.

Eastern Panhandle Gas Pipeline, Mountaineer Gas, Protest, Pipeline
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A judge has lifted the restraining order against natural gas pipeline protesters sitting in trees in West Virginia.

News outlets report Judge Robert Irons denied the injunction, reversing course less than two weeks after granting Mountain Valley Pipeline a 10-day restraining order against the protesters.

Snowfall on March 21, 2018 in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

It might be spring, but areas of West Virginia and Kentucky look more like winter, especially at ski resorts, with up to a foot of snow forecast in some areas.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the eastern half of West Virginia until 11 p.m. Wednesday and in areas around Louisville, Kentucky, until 2 p.m. Much of the rest of both states were under a winter storm advisory that called for up to 5 inches of snowfall.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Center for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a study last month on the largest cluster of complicated black lung cases ever reported. Kara Lofton spoke with WVU School of Public Health physicians Carl Werntz and Anna Allen about the study and what it means for West Virginia.

Morgantown Industrial Park
Northeast Natural Energy

Dozens of chemicals that can affect the fertility of humans and animals are being found in the air near unconventional oil and gas development, according to a new study.

 

West Virginia forward Esa Ahmad (23) goes to the basket against Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger (0) and guard Matt Farrell (5) during the first half of a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Buffalo
Bill Wippert / AP

For the second straight year, a major winter storm has scrambled West Virginia's travel plans for the NCAA Tournament.

About 20 hours after arriving back on campus from the West Coast, the Mountaineers left Tuesday to begin preparations for Friday's Sweet 16 appearance in Boston against old Big East foe Villanova.

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Forecasters say an early spring storm could dump more than a foot of snow in parts of West Virginia.

The National Weather Service says eastern and southeastern sections of the state will be the hardest hit with up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) possible by Tuesday night. Additional amounts were possible on Wednesday.

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins yells from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA Tournament college basketball regional semifinal game against Gonzaga in San Jose, Calif.
Tony Avelar / Associated Press file photo

A winter storm expected to hit the Northeast is forcing at least one college basketball team to alter its travel plans for the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

West Virginia's athletic department announced Monday night the Mountaineers will leave a day early for Boston. WVU says it will depart Morgantown on Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

Nancy Andrews

Since late February, a small group of people have been quietly perched in two trees atop Peters Mountain in Monroe County. They are so remote, few have seen or heard directly from the protesters, but still there’s plenty of people noticing.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the West Virginia House of Delegates moved swiftly Wednesday night to pass a new 5 percent pay raise package for teachers, service personnel and state police – acting on a revised revenue forecast from Gov. Jim Justice.

That bill made its way to the Senate yesterday Thursday but was not taken up in committee. On last night’s episode of The Legislature Today, host Andrea Lannom chatted with Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso about the situation at the statehouse.

Kara Leigh Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Senate voted unanimously Thursday, Feb. 22, for a bill that would delete a section of state law governing water pollution by surface coal mining.

The bill from the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee would cut a requirement that the mining company get certification afterward that it mitigated damage to streams or more than 250 acres of watershed.

President Trump made coal jobs a core of his presidential campaign, repeatedly vowing to bring back "beautiful" coal despite the industry's decades-long decline. And in pockets of the U.S. during Trump's first year in office, it may well have felt like a turnaround was underway.

A review of data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration shows 1,001 more U.S. coal jobs last year compared with 2016, although energy analysts say the reasons are short term and have nothing to do with White House policies.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, in the wake of school shootings in Kentucky and Florida, there has been a rash of copycat school threats throughout the Ohio Valley, leaving law enforcement and education officials grappling with how to improve security. A school counseling expert from West Virginia University says it’s useful to look at the potential school shootings that did not happen. Glynis Board reports that his work focuses on how schools have successfully averted shooting incidents.

On The Legislature Today, we take a closer look at energy legislation moving through this session. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee Chairman Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, as well as Executive Director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition Angie Rosser.

Dollar Photo Club

Federal prosecutors have decided not to retry a West Virginia coal boss whose case ended in mistrial on charges of campaign finance fraud.

Dave Herasimtschuk / Freshwaters Illustrated

As the natural gas industry matures in our region, construction of big transmission pipelines like the Constitution and the Rover continue make headlines. But there are also thousands of miles of smaller pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to connect drilling well pads to the energy distribution system. These lines have far less oversight and could be having big impacts on smaller streams, and the wildlife that lives there.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

We’ve fielded quite a few questions from people throughout the region who want to know more about a major deal the State of West Virginia struck with China Energy, the largest energy company in China. Glynis Board recently sat down with the director of WVU’s Energy Institute to get more insight into how this deal was made and what the implications might be. 


Jean Snedegar

November last year West Virginia's Commerce Department announced a deal with China Energy the biggest Chinese coal company, to invest billions in the state’s natural gas industry. A memorandum of understanding outlines a 20 year commitment to invest 83.7 billion dollars in the states shale gas industry. The deal didn’t happen overnight. Brian Anderson, founder and director of the Energy Institute at West Virginia University offers some insight into the deal and the company behind it.

On The Legislature Today, details about an estimated $84 billion investment by a Chinese energy company have been slim since Governor Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher made the announcement last fall. In this episode, we'll talk to a lead scientist at West Virginia University who describes a long-time relationship between the university and this energy company.

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