Energy & Environment

Little Blue Run Coal Ash Impoundment
Wiki

More than 50 West Virginia and Pennsylvania property owners are suing FirstEnergy over groundwater pollution, soggy yards, and foundation damage they say was caused by a leaking coal ash impoundment.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wheeling accuses the Ohio-based power company of negligence, reckless conduct, trespassing and creating a nuisance.

It says arsenic and other substances have leached out of the unlined, 1,700-acre Little Blue Run impoundment into groundwater, and the air has been fouled by the noxious odors of hydrogen sulfide gas.

Rachel Lippman / St. Louis Public Radio

The United Mine Workers of America has reached a settlement with Peabody Energy and Patriot Coal that will help to cover health care benefits for retired miners.

Background:

Solar Decathlon competition heating up in California

Oct 9, 2013
West Virginia University

West Virginia University's Solar Decathlon Team is in Irvine, competing with its rustic, log cabin home.

Team members say they are enjoying the experience, yet at the same time, feeling the pressure from competing.

Department of Energy officials say the home is bringing a refreshing new vision to the competition, too.

Cecelia Mason

The West Virginia chapter of The Nature Conservancy is celebrating a half century in existence by looking back at its accomplishments, planning its future and honoring 50 people or organizations that have helped it along the way.

The West Virginia chapter was chartered in 1963. The Nature Conservancy web site says the idea started three years earlier when a group at West Virginia University wanted to buy the Cranesville Swamp Preserve near Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia Citizen Action Group says it will appeal the approval of a $1.1 billion deal for the sale of the Harrison Power Station.

The United Mine Workers is reminding miners to stay safe during the government shut down. Three miners died in just as many days over the weekend. 

UMWA president Cecil Roberts is urging all miners to be especially careful at work.

Roberts said, “check on your buddy,” and “watch each other's back.”

On Friday 62-year-old Roger R. King from Moundsville was killed after an accident at CONSOL Energy's McElroy mine in Marshall County. He was employed as a longwall maintenance coordinator and had 42 years of mining experience.

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.

Where's the best place to leaf peep this weekend?

Oct 4, 2013
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.

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