Congressional Dems Urge Elimination of Oil and Gas Tax Breaks

Fifty-four Congressional Democrats signed an August 30, 2021 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging that the Build Back Better infrastructure legislation soon to b taken up include a repeal of $121 billion in subsidies for the fossil fuel industries, including tax breaks for foreign oil and gas income. The letter cited the International Monetary […]

PSC Chair Committed To Keeping Coal-Fired Plants Running For A Decade

At the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting, leaders of the state’s largest energy and utility companies participated in a roundtable discussion with Public Service Commission Chair Charlotte Lane.  The meeting was held Labor Day weekend at the Greenbrier resort. The PSC is responsible for supervising and regulating the state’s public utilities.  During her […]

Study Shows Using Fertilizer Made from Sludge Can Bring Forever Chemicals Into the Home

A report issued May 25 by the Michigan Ecology Center and the Sierra Club should make gardeners who use “natural” fertilizers made from sewage sludge think twice.  The report details how sludge can contain PFAs — forever chemicals that persist in the environment for decades. In most places industries are allowed to flush PFAS-containing waste […]

Outgoing Trump Interior Department Defunds Urban Parks

On January 19, 2021 the US Department of Interior issued an order diverting funds away from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership, which funds urban green spaces in areas that lack access to conventional parks — primarily in non-white communities. This action came despite funding by Congress of $125M in the recent Omnibus spending bill. The […]

Austin Caperton Resigns as West Virginia DEP Head

Austin Caperton, the former coal executive who has served as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection during the Justice Administration, will step down on Januray 18, 2021.  A new Secretary has not been named. Caperton was controversial both for his rulings favorable to the Mountain Valley Pipeline and his approval of the Rockwool air […]

West Virginia Legislative Rules Committee Votes to Weaken Some Water Quality Standards

On December 9, a Joint Committee of the West Virginia Legislature voted 7-4 to approve a proposed water quality rule submitted by the Department of Environmental Protection.  The proposed rule weakens 13 current standards.   All seven Republicans on the Committee, including Patricia Rucker of Jefferson County, voted in favor.  The rule must go to 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 […]