Health & Science

Janet Kunicki / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia's attorney general is accusing a convenience store company of illegally raising water prices while running water was unusable after a chemical spill.
 
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the enforcement action Friday in Putnam County Circuit Court, claiming Mid Valley Mart more than doubled prices for one-gallon water jugs to $3.39 at two Hurricane stores. The complaint also says one customer paid more than $40 for 12 one-gallon jugs.
 

Jessica Lilly

Several public school systems across the state remained closed Friday. It was the same story at several universities and colleges. Some West Virginians are still digging out of a deep snow that fell over Wednesday and Thursday.

Nate May's Prius is loaded down with water. The back is filled with boxes, each holding three one-gallon jugs that he just bought at Walmart. He and other volunteers are driving around Charleston, W.V., dropping off the jugs to people who have contacted his ad hoc group, the West Virginia Clean Water Hub. It's paid for with donations.

"There are a lot of people this has put in a difficult bind. Some of them can't get out, some of them are elderly, some of them — it's just too much of a financial burden," May says. "We just take them at their word if they say they need water."

Jessica Lilly

Some parts of West Virginia are buried by more than a foot of snow as a winter storm barrels across the state. The National Weather Service (NWS) is calling for an additional  accumulation of two to four inches throughout the day in several counties in the southern part of the state.

Preliminary snowfall totals from the (NWS) include 18 inches in Mount Storm, 15 inches in Jefferson County, more than 14 inches in Ronceverte,  and 16 inches in Athens.

Residents across the state are shoveling out from the winter storm although snowfall is expected through the day.

Tim Doty

Power crews are moving into the region along with the latest winter storm.

In a release, Appalachian Power said nearly 100 contractors and employees moved into areas expected to experience the most severe effects of the storm.

Phil Wright, Appalachian Power’s vice president of distribution operations said in the release that colder temperatures and a lack of wind are expected to work in the power company's favor to limit wide-spread outages.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday that he's appealing a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny West Virginia's request for emergency protective measures through the emergency declaration issued in response to the Kanawha Valley water crisis.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Tuesday the West Virginia Testing Assessment Project for residents in the nine counties affected by the Jan. 9 chemical spill into Elk River.

The project, which will make use of $650,000 from the state budget according to Tomblin, will be conducted by independent scientific experts under the direction of Dr.  Andrew Whelton, assistant professor of environmental engineering at the University of South Alabama, and Corona Environmental Consulting.

WV Legislative Photography

Senate Bill 534 was introduced in the Senate Tuesday to increase the excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The proposal would mean a $1 increase in taxes on a pack of cigarettes to $1.55 total. On all other tobacco products, the tax increases from 7 percent of the wholesale price to 50 percent.

“From a polling standpoint, people say they don’t have a problem with increasing cigarette taxes,” said Senator Bob Plymale, the bill’s lead sponsor.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Is the water safe to drink? As we've just heard, that's the question still plaguing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who live in and around Charleston. I spoke earlier today with the other U.S. senator from West Virginia, the senior senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

Senator Rockefeller, welcome to the program.

SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Melissa. I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.

BLOCK: Really? Well, that was my first question, would you drink the water? And you say no.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Officials in Charleston, West Virginia, testified today that the water there is now suitable for drinking and bathing, but nobody seemed ready or willing to call it safe. The testimony came at a field hearing held by members of Congress one month after a chemical in spill in the Elk River tainted the water for some 300,000 people. NPR's Brian Naylor was there today and he filed this report.

Pills, Drugs, Prescriptions, prescription drugs
RayNata / wikimedia

Federal prosecutors say 15 people have been charged with distributing tens of thousands of prescription painkillers in the Ohio Valley area of West Virginia.
 
     U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II announced the unsealing of an 83-count indictment on Monday. It alleges the powerful painkiller oxycodone and other prescription drugs were funneled into West Virginia from northern Ohio and Detroit.
 

@chemsafetyboard / Twitter

Tanks at the facility that spilled chemicals into 300,000 West Virginians' water supply were deemed out of federal compliance three months before the leak.
 
     U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso told a congressional panel Monday that Freedom Industries ordered its own review of its tanks last October.

The Allegheny Front speaks with news director Beth Vorhees about the latest on the Elk River chemical spill and where we are one month later.

Flickr / davidwilson1949

Two West Virginia government agencies have been accused of ignoring steps that could have taken to prevent the Jan. 9 chemical spill which tainted the drinking water supply for residents in nine counties.

The Charleston Gazette reports an emergency petition was filed Friday with the state Supreme Court on behalf of two nonprofit groups and two Charleston-area residents.

Four weeks after the spill from Freedom Industries, test results from one school in West Virginia shows traces of MCHM.

A sink at George Washington High School that had a sample gathered Thursday, February 6 tested at 0.018 ppm. This level remains below the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended threshold of 1 parts per million.

Test results from 13 other schools being tested show non-detect levels of MCHM.

Congressman Nick Joe Rahall is looking into the water situation in Alpoca/Bud in Wyoming County.

The long-term fix, known as the Covel project, will bring a new transmission main to serve the Bud/Alpoca area. The Eastern Wyoming Public Service District (PSD), in partnership with the Wyoming County Commission, has taken steps to repair the existing water system.

The Covel project has nearly a $5.7 million price tag, all of which – except for $125,000 – is Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funding.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing Monday morning in Charleston to learn more about the Jan. 9 chemical spill into the Elk River that left 300,000 people banned from using tap water for up to 10 days.

The witness list included the president of West Virginia American Water, state health, homeland security and environmental officials, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and county emergency and homeland security officials.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern was invited but did not attend.

Raymond Thompson / WVU

West Virginia University researchers say, in an effort to fulfill their land-grant institution mission of serving communities in the state, they stepped up to begin a research project to study the Elk River Chemical spill. University funds as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation have provided seed money to immediately collect perishable data to conduct this study.

Lead Researchers:

Kanawha County Commission
Kanawha County Commission

 
The Kanawha County Commission and the City of Charleston have announced bulk water distribution sites for Friday, February 7th through Sunday, February 9th.

 

  • Crossing Mall – Elkview
  • Walmart Parking Lot – Quincy
  • Shawnee Park – Institute
  • Old Big Sandy Parking Lot – Cross Lanes
  • Big Lots Parking Lot –Patrick Street – Charleston

The Kanawha County Commission says bulk water tankers and buffaloes will remain at locations each day until 5:00 p.m. due to temperatures which are expected to drop below freezing nightly. 

Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has announced a field hearing in Charleston on West Virginia's chemical spill. The meeting will take place Monday at 9 a.m. at the Kanawha County Courthouse.

The witness list includes the president of West Virginia American Water, state health officials, homeland security and environmental officials, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and county emergency officials.

Freedom Industries President Gary Southern has been invited. His attendance has not been confirmed.

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