Energy & Environment

U.S. coal mines recorded 15 workplace deaths in 2017 only a year after they hit a record low, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration data released on Tuesday.

In 2016, just nine deaths occurred in U.S. coal mines.

West Virginia mines saw eight deaths, Kentucky had two, and one each occurred at mines in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Officials say a worker has died after a tracked vehicle moving a piece of pipe slipped on frozen ground and struck him in West Virginia.

Elk, Standing Elk
Albert Herring / Wikimedia Commons

A new partnership between West Virginia and a nonprofit group will protect about 32,000 acres of forest as habitat for the state's new elk population.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and The Conservation Fund used $12 million from the Wildlife Conservation Fund to protect the land. The Conservation Fund purchased the land in 2016 and then transferred it to the Division of Natural Resources.

Burned By Coal: Coalfield Communities Facing Electricity Price Hikes

Dec 23, 2017
Kentucky Power customers expressed frustration with proposed rate increases.
Mimi Pickering / WMMT

One evening this past November, angry customers and public officials filled a high school auditorium in Hazard, Kentucky, and took turns pleading with three members of the state’s public service commission.

Angie Hatton, a state legislator representing Letcher and Pike counties, presented the situation in historical terms. “This community that for two centuries has been powering our nation, we’re now struggling to keep our own lights on.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the Trump administration announced it is reviewing an Obama-era rule that protects miners from exposure to coal dust, and that has some health and safety advocates concerned. As Benny Becker reports, the review comes amid a tide of regulatory rollbacks and at a time that the most severe form of black lung disease is on the rise.

Antero Resources

Environmentalists have reached an agreement with Antero Treatment that calls for monitoring for radioactivity and bromide around its landfill in northern West Virginia that takes the waste from recycled groundwater used in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

It settles an appeal by the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy of the state permit for the landfill, which takes salt byproducts from Antero’s adjacent wastewater recycling facility. Both are located on 447 acres in Ritchie and Doddridge counties.

Larry Dowling / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Throughout coal mining country of the Eastern U.S. you will find streams that run a peculiar rusty orange. It’s the result of pollution called acid mine drainage, or AMD. It’s estimated that about 10,000 miles of streams are polluted by AMD in Pennsylvania and West Virginia alone. In fact, researchers have calculated that every second, coal mines throughout the region are pumping out about 3,000 cubic feet of AMD. That’s roughly equal to an average May day’s flow of water in the Monongahela River as it winds through the region.

John Raby / AP Photo

In the wake of the hearings the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted in West Virginia last week, the agency has decided to schedule more public hearings about the repeal of the Clean Power Plan - carbon regulations that aimed to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. 

Photo courtesy of Wood County 911

West Virginia environmental authorities have approved cleanup plans by the owners of the industrial warehouse that burned for a week in Parkersburg.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, here in West Virginia, one source of energy -- coal -- tends to dominate discussions about the economy. But it’s another form of energy production that brought The World’s Jason Margolis to the state.

Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broacasting

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey stood in front of the state’s capitol to rally the roughly 120 coal miners and industry boosters gathered there.

“The fight against the unlawful Clean Power Plan started in Charleston, West Virginia,” Morrisey said, noting the state’s role in a legal challenge to the Obama-era rule.

 


Wood County 911

A new lawsuit over the industrial fire that burned for a week in West Virginia targets the chemical manufacturer who sold products stored in the building.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, coal miners were some of President Trump’s staunchest supporters in the 2016 election. He promised to bring back jobs in the industry, and that promise is tantalizing to some in coal country.

Reporting for StateImpact Pennsylvania, The Allegheny Front’s Reid Frazier found coal miners who are sticking with the industry, instead of looking for a new career.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, environmental advocates and energy industry stakeholders are meeting in West Virginia’s capitol for two days of hearings on a proposal to repeal carbon emission regulations -- regulations that haven’t yet been implemented.

Spotted Lanternfly, Lanternfly, Lantern Fly, Fly, Lantern
Sam Droege / USGS

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture is asking residents to watch for the appearance of the spotted lanternfly, a destructive insect whose presence was confirmed last week in New Castle County, Delaware.

It was first detected in the U.S. in 2014 in Pennsylvania, where it has since been found in 13 counties.

water faucet
wikimedia

West Virginia's U.S. senators say $6.65 million in federal rural development funding has been approved for building a new treatment plant and other upgrades for the water system in McMechen.

Supreme Court
Penubag / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected landowners’ request to review the ruling by West Virginia’s highest court concluding natural gas companies can deduct post-production costs from the royalties paid landowners for mineral rights.

In May, the West Virginia Supreme Court reversed its November ruling in the case after Justice Beth Walker was elected and replaced Justice Brent Benjamin.

In their petition, the landowners said the reversal could have been significant for energy companies in which Walker’s husband had owned stock.

John Raby / AP Photo

Last month the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt chose an eastern Kentucky mining town as the venue to announce his intent to repeal the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions. On Tuesday the agency returned to coal country to conduct its only public hearing on the matter in Charleston, West Virginia.

EPA Gathers Coal Country Comments about Climate Plan Repeal

Nov 28, 2017

The coal industry and environmentalists are squaring off at a two-day public hearing over the Trump administration's planned repeal of an Obama-era plan to limit planet-warming carbon emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding the only scheduled hearing on the reversal in Charleston, West Virginia. The state is heavily dependent on coal mining.

Photo courtesy of Wood County 911

Three lawsuits seeking damages following the industrial warehouse fire that burned for a week in Parkersburg have been moved from state to federal court.

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

The White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery set to receive $213,000 in federal funds to repair damage from last year's flooding.

Industrial Strength: How the U.S. Government Hid Fracking's Risks to Drinking Water

Nov 20, 2017
Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has cleared another key regulatory hurdle. 

The U.S. Forest Service granted approval Friday for the natural gas pipeline to run through the George Washington National Forest and Monongahela National Forest.

About 21 miles (33 kilometers) of the 600-mile-long (965 kilometers) project are located on National Forest Service lands, including where it will cross the Appalachian Trail.

Gasoline, Gas, Fuel, Diesel
Pixabay

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority has authorized more than $29 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to a company planning to build a synthetic fuel plant.

Pipeline ready for construction.
Seth Perlman / Associated Press

A federal judge tells developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline he won't order all landowners in its West Virginia lawsuit to respond by Dec. 4 to motions for summary judgment for rights of way available under federal regulations.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear the next chapter in The Struggle to Stay. Lately, we’ve been following 21-year-old Derek Akal, a native of eastern Kentucky. We’ve met several generations of his ancestors, and heard the stories of how they moved to and from the coal-camp town in Harlan County, where Derek lives.

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

State environmental regulators say the owner of a Parkersburg warehouse that caught fire last month has handed over 551 pages worth of documents.

 

Warehouse owner Intercontinental Export Import provided the documents in response to an order the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued the week after the fire.

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.

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