Energy & Environment

Flood, Greenbrier
Steve Helber / AP Photo

Flood-affected communities in southern West Virginia are receiving federal aid to help clean up brownfield sites for future development. 

Michael Virtanen / AP

MATOAKA, W.Va. — The red caboose parked at the edge of a rundown commercial block is the only rail car some people have seen in Matoaka in more than a year.

It bears the markings of the Norfolk and Western Railway, a company merged years ago and absorbed into oblivion, like Amoco and Oldsmobile. It has come to rest here, a relic of the past.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch through Monday morning for southwest West Virginia, as well as northeast Kentucky and southwest Virginia.

The watch begins Saturday afternoon.

The service says there's a risk of severe thunderstorms Saturday with damaging winds, large hail and an isolated tornado possible.

gary cohn, jim mattis
Evan Vucci / AP

The president's chief economic adviser is casting doubt on the future of U.S. coal, saying it "doesn't really make that much sense anymore as a feedstock," directly contradicting President Donald Trump's repeated promises to revive the struggling coal industry.

Briefing reporters Thursday night on Air Force One, Gary Cohn singled out natural gas as "such a cleaner fuel." By exporting more natural gas and investing in wind and solar energy, the U.S. "can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly," Cohn said.

Two Dead After Explosion in Barbour County

May 24, 2017
Barbour County
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

Two people are dead in Barbour County this afternoon following an explosion at Midland Resource Recovery, according to Barbour County Emergency Management.

One other person was injured and taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.

Its 1,700-foot arch made it the longest single-span arch bridge in the world.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / New River Gorge, Fayette County, Fayette Station Road

Water safety instruction will be given this weekend at New River Gorge National River.

The National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are offering their annual safety program on Saturday and Sunday. Water safety activities are free and offer the chance for anyone to learn how to be safe during recreational activities around water.

State authorities say a 44-year-old shuttle car operator has been killed at a mine in southern West Virginia.

The Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training says Luches Rosser of Man, West Virginia, was operating a locomotive when the incident occurred after 11 p.m. Thursday at the Pinnacle Mining Co. mine in Wyoming County.

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.


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