Harold Ward Appointed New DEP Secretary

Governor Justice recently appointed longtime Division of Environmental Protection official Harold Ward to be Secretary of the agency. Ward had been serving as the DEP’s deputy secretary of Operations and director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation, where he oversaw all operational components of the WVDEP, as well as the agency’s mining regulatory program. […]

America’s Newest National Park Is West Virginia’s First

Tucked into the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress at the end of 2020 was a measure creating the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. This is the sixty-third national park, but the first one in West Virginia. To achieve this was not just a simple matter of changing the name of the New […]

What’s In the New Spending Law for the Environment?

On December 27, 2020, seemingly at the last minute, President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill negotiated in Congress.  Much of the news has been about the pandemic relief provided in the law.  But the law also funds many new energy and environmental initiatives. The Act’s environmental features are mostly found in a component called […]

FERC Permits Mountain Valley Pipeline to Proceed

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which seeks to transmit fracked natural gas from Northern West Virginia to markets in Virginia and North Carolina, has been on hold since 2018.  At that time the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated authorizations issued by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service for the pipeline to […]

Solar and Wind Industries Issue Policy Roadmaps for Biden Administration

The American Wind Energy Association, the leading wind energy trade association, has issued a proposed 100-day plan for the Biden Administration to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  The plan advances four themes: establishing clean energy targets, expanding interstate transmission capacity, expediting federal permitting processes for renewable energy and removing cost barriers for renewables.  The […]

Mountaineer Gas Pipeline Explodes in Martinsburg

Workers digging to install a new pipeline next to an older one on private property near Martinsburg struct the older line causing an explosion on September 21. Pressurized gas shot 80 to 100 feet in the air causing the evacuation of the homeowners. There was no fire. Rockwool opponents Jefferson County Foundation say this is […]

Michigan Bald Eagle Attacks Drone, Rips Off Propeller

A bald eagle in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula attacked a shoreline mapping drone on July 21, ripping off its propeller and sending it down in 4 feet of water. In its last 3.5 seconds of operation, the drone sent out 27 frantic distress messages. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, owner of the […]

North Carolina Denies Water Permit to Mountain Valley Pipeline

On August 11, 2020 the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality rejected a water permit for a 75-mile branch of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Overall, the MVP is a 300-mile project designed to transmit gas from nothwestern West Virginia to Virginia.  NCDEQ explained that the North Carolina branch depended on completion of the MVP mainline […]

WV Oil and Gas Industry Wants Feds to Pay for Plugging Abandoned Wells

The West Virginia oil and gas industry and the surface owners’ rights lobby want to shift the cost of plugging abandoned oil and gas wells to a federally funded program. Several bills introduced in the Legislature last session would have made oil and gas drillers themselves pay a fee for this purpose upon applying to […]

BP To Cut Oil Production By 40% Over the Decade

BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies, announced August 4, 2020 that it would cut its oil and gas production 40% and increase its renewable electric power output twenty-fold within the next ten years. It also expects to direct a third of its capital spending — $5 billion to $7 billion — toward low-carbon […]