Energy & Environment

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is inevitably affected by the standoff in Washington. MSHA is partially open with less than half the staff.

Update Monday October 7 9:00 a.m.

Leslie Fitzwater with the state Office of Miner's Health Safety and training says 62-year-old Roger R. King from Moundsville died Friday. 

King died Friday after an accident at CONSOL Energy's McElroy mine in Marshall County. He was employed as a longwall maintenance coordinator.

King had 42 years of mining experience with 17 years experience at McElroy mine.

Rt 219 Project

One of the most immediate effects of the federal government shutdown hits tourists.

A record number of raptors flew over an observation point in West Virginia recently.

A story teller puts a new twist on old Appalachian traditions.

And a Kentucky school program helps who want to children learn music.

early fall at Dolly Sods, WV
wikimedia / ForestWander

State foresters recommend heading to the high country this weekend to see foliage at its peak. Perennial foliage hotspots, including Dolly Sods, Blackwater Falls and Canaan Valley are reportedly either at peak or expected to peak over the next few days. In Pocahontas County, favorite foliage spots like Cheat Mountain, Snowshoe and the headwaters of the Greenbrier River are getting close to peak. The Highland Scenic Highway has good but scattered color.

The Silver Lake area of Preston County is approximately 60 percent peak and another recommended destination this weekend.

The Environmental Protection Agency will soon be expected to move forward revising coal ash regulations, according to a federal court ruling.

In April 2012, nearly a dozen environmental groups filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA’s inaction to revise coal ash regulations.

Portions of South Charleston, Dunbar and other areas in western Kanawha County were under a shelter in place Wednesday morning as a result of a chemical leak. No injuries were reported and the situation appears to be non-threatening at this point.

Clearon Corporation Facilities Manager Scott Johnson says his company produces dry chlorinated bleach for use in pools. He details the chain of the events during the incident.

“At 8:25 Eastern Daylight Time this morning an alarm alerted our management to the release of a small amount of chlorine,” said Johnson.

The fourth series of Inspiring West Virginians  features one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, John Forbes Nash, Jr, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Nash grew up in Bluefield, West Virginia, and the town still holds an importance for him. Now 84, John Nash is currently a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University in New Jersey. 

 

Eastern Area Observed Fire Danger Map
Wildland Fire Assessment System

The West Virginia Division of Forestry reminds residents that the state's fall forest fire season starts Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through Dec. 31, 2013. During these three months, daytime burning is prohibited from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor burning is permitted only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.    

State law requires a ring or safety strip around outdoor fires to keep the fire from spreading into the woods. This safety strip must be cleared of all burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide completely around the debris pile.    

Rodney Bartgis 2013 Inspiring West Virginain
Jean Snedegar

Fifty-four-year-old Rodney Bartgis, state director of the West Virginia Nature Conservancy, stood atop Cave Mountain in Pendleton County, an elevation of 2,777 feet.

“It almost looks like the Rocky Mountains,” said Bartgis. “This is the biggest uplift of limestone in the eastern mountains of the United States, and a lot of the rare plants and animals in this canyon are associated with this limestone,” he said. 

  Members of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition hosted a rally Monday morning in Huntington. 

  Their effort focuses on shedding light on the transfer of waste water on barges.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition hosted a group from the northern panhandle called the Wheeling Water Warriors. This group of Wheeling Warriors organized after a waste water treatment plant was proposed to be built near Wheeling. Since then they have led a charge that includes organizing The Great Ohio River Relay.

New environmental regs, coal a tourism draw in southern W.Va, an historic clock in downtown Lexington Ky. restored and Big Stone Gap Va. gets a taste of Hollywood.

WVU Professor on EPA Regulations: With the proposed regulations targeting new coal-fired power plants, one West Virginia University law professor is predicting new challenges for the region’s coal industry.

EPA proposals would cap carbon emissions

Sep 20, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency's plan to address carbon emissions, which result from burning coal, include capping the amount of emissions allowed to be released from plants.

The proposals sparked anger from most of West Virginia's federal delegation, with the exception of retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

WVU law professor talks expected EPA power plant rules

Sep 19, 2013
AEP's Mountaineer plant in New Haven, WV. 2009
Keri Brown

With new regulations expected to come from the Environmental Protection Agency on coal-fired power plants, one West Virginia University law professor is predicting new challenges for the state coal industry.  James Van Nostrand is a law professor at the WVU law school, who specializes in energy law. He fully expects legal challenges to be presented by the coal industry in response to the EPA’s new guidelines which are slated to be released this week.

West Virginia Morning - Sept. 19, 2013

Sep 19, 2013

On this WV Morning, learn about the music scene in the state, hear from a law professor about new threats to the coal industry, and hear the history of famous Omie Wise ballad.

WVSORO concerned about floodplains and gas drilling

Sep 11, 2013

The West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization is focusing its attention on how floodplains are used in natural gas drilling activity.

WVSORO co-founder Dave McMahon says because of the regulations on the books, surface owners aren't notified when gas drillers want to put equipment on floodplains. This is usually the case if the surface owner doesn't own the mineral rights.

McMahon says floodplain ordinances, implemented by counties, need to change accordingly to fix the gaps.

EarthEcho President Philippe Cousteau discusses the health of a trout fishing stream in Grant County W.Va. with Jenny Newland, Canaan Valley Institute executive director, for a documentary about the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
EarthEcho International / State of WV

Federal Budget Cuts, EarthEcho education project and black lung roundtable

EarthEcho - West Virginia will be one of the states featured in a new education project created by EarthEcho International that focuses on in the Chesapeake Bay. EarthEcho is launching a new multi-year expedition program that will focus each year on an environmental problem.

  One Marshall University professor’s research is pretty unique. She’s examining the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, which isn’t in West Virginia. The research will take her to the Marine Corps training base in South Carolina. 

Jayme Waldron is an assistant professor of biology and conservation biologist. As a Marshall University undergrad she took part in studies looking at salamanders. That research took her to South Carolina where she gradually looked at reptiles and then rattle snakes.

DEP seeks comment on a watershed management plan

Sep 5, 2013

The state Department of Environmental Protection is putting together a plan to manage pollutants in a northern West Virginia watershed. This plan will have a key role in the health of the waterways.

The plan is called a Total Maximum Daily Load plan; it establishes limits for how much pollutants can be in streams listed as impaired. These pollutants include: total iron, chlorides, and dissolved aluminum. DEP’s TMDL’s program manager Dave Montali says it takes time to develop plans like this one.

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