Transparency, Environmental Concerns Surround Proposal To Barge Oil And Gas Waste On The Ohio River Friday, Aug 14 2020 

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A proposal to repurpose a docking facility near Marietta, Ohio, to allow for the barging of oil and gas drilling waste on the Ohio River is drawing concern from environmental groups and local residents.

Ohio-based DeepRock Disposal Solutions LLC is seeking approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District to operate a barge offloading facility to transfer the waste to existing storage tanks. The proposal indicates the loading facility can accommodate a 300-foot-long barge that is 54 feet wide.

It is the third barging proposal this year being considered by federal regulators. A proposal near Martins Ferry, Ohio, and one near Portland, Ohio, both to build new barging loading facilities have already been approved.


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Federal PAC Donations Show Ohio Valley Lawmakers Raked In Thousands From Utility FirstEnergy Thursday, Aug 13 2020 

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Lawmakers from across the Ohio Valley have received nearly half a million dollars in campaign contributions from 2019-2020 from a political action committee associated with FirstEnergy Corp., the electric utility implicated in a $61 million bribery and racketeering scheme related to Ohio’s controversial energy bill that bailed out several struggling nuclear and coal plants.

FirstEnergy’s PAC donated $484,490 to elected officials  in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The elected officials came from both parties and encompassed a vast range of political offices — from the U.S. Senate and House to statehouses and even state auditors offices — according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents compiled by HEATED, a climate-focused newsletter written by journalist Emily Atkin.


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Louisville Air Pollution Improving, But Ozone Problems Remain Thursday, Aug 13 2020 

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Louisville’s air quality officially met the national standard for sulfur dioxide this week for the first time since 2013, but it continues to struggle with unhealthy levels of ozone, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The designation comes about eight years’ after Louisville Gas & Electric invested nearly $1 billion in pollution controls at the Mill Creek coal-fired power plant — the county’s largest source of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

The EPA’s designation is evidence of Louisville’s improving air quality, but it also highlights the more stubborn challenge that remains: ozone. There is no one single source for the pollutants that make ozone, and it’s going to require broader community participation to meet the national standard.


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Contura Energy Will Accelerate Exit From Thermal Coal Business, Citing Global Transition Away From Fossil Fuels Monday, Aug 10 2020 

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A major Ohio Valley coal producer announced last week it will speed up its exit from producing coal used to generate electricity. In a call with shareholders last week, Contura Energy, Inc., said the move is tied to the ongoing global transition away from fossil fuels.

“We recognize that the world is transitioning toward an economy that relies less on fossil fuels for power generation, and we therefore have accelerated our strategic exit from thermal coal mining,” said CEO David Stetson.


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Toxic Legacy Comes To Light With Claims That Union Carbide Failed To Report Landfill Monday, Aug 10 2020 

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On a recent sticky July afternoon, Diana Green stands on the muddy bank of lower Davis Creek in South Charleston, West Virginia.  

As a child, she enjoyed wading in the nearly 10-mile-long stream in search of crayfish and salamanders. As an adult, Green set down roots there, purchasing a farm that backs up to the creek. Seeing the waterway choked with trash and pollution, Green helped form a small community-based watershed group in the 1990s. The Davis Creek Watershed Association has been dedicated to improving the environmental quality of the watershed, and 25 years later, she says they have largely succeeded. Several different fish species, from skipjack to bass live in the stream. 

But these waters have also been shaped by the Kanawha Valley’s deep connection to the nearby chemical industry. Heavy manufacturing such as steel and chemicals helped build many Ohio Valley towns. Today, much of that work has gone global, leaving behind a legacy of contamination with old polluted sites still emerging. 


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New Albany Officials Look To Amplify Natural Amenities With Trail Projects Wednesday, Aug 5 2020 

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More recreational amenities will be coming to New Albany over the next few years.

At least three projects are in the works that will extend the Ohio River Greenway and improve access to tributaries of the Ohio River.

In the early part of the 20th century, residents of New Albany flocked to Glenwood Park in the city’s east end during the summer. The park, which bordered Silver Creek, offered a place to enjoy time in the sun, even allowing people to canoe the creek.


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Mine Safety Agency Should Do More To Protect Coal Miners In The Pandemic, Oversight Office Finds Tuesday, Jul 28 2020 

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The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has not done enough to protect coal miners during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from an oversight agency released Tuesday.

Through interviews with MSHA officials and union representatives, as well as reviews of state and national policies, the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that MSHA could do more to track coronavirus cases among coal miners, address a growing backlog of inspections, and mandate safety precautions underground.


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‘No Pay, We Stay.’ A Look Back At Miners’ Protest That Rocked Appalachia Tuesday, Jul 28 2020 

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It’s a quiet, foggy morning on Highway 119 in Cumberland, Kentucky. A railroad track runs along the highway, and here, Sand Hill Bottom Road crosses the tracks and turns to the right, leaving a rough triangle of gravel spattered with trash. 

You can hear crickets chirping, birds twittering, cars passing on 119. A billboard advertises Portal 31, a coal town tourist attraction. 

Protesting miners blocked the tracks in the morning fog.


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Power Failure: A Massive Bribery Scheme Could Change Ohio Valley Energy Systems Monday, Jul 27 2020 

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One of the country’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, with a large presence in the Ohio Valley, has emerged at the center of a $60 million bribery and racketeering scheme related to Ohio’s controversial energy bill that bailed out several struggling nuclear and coal plants 

On Tuesday, federal investigators arrested one of Ohio’s top lawmakers, House Speaker Larry Householder and some of his associates, in connection with the scandal. Dave DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said that in exchange for the $1.5 billion bailout contained in the controversial legislation, known as H.B. 6, utility FirstEnergy Corp., identified as Company A, funneled nearly $61 million into a dark money group controlled by Householder and his political allies. 

FirstEnergy Corp. executives ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.


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Plan To ‘Reimagine Appalachia’ Touts Jobs, Justice And Sustainability For The Ohio Valley Wednesday, Jul 22 2020 

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A coalition of progressive policy and environmental groups has released a “blueprint” that provides a framework for how Ohio Valley communities could reap the benefits of federal action to address climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, titled “Reimagine Appalachia” envisions a future economy for the traditionally extraction-based economies of Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania that builds on the region’s other natural resources, creates well-paying jobs and positions the Ohio Valley at the forefront of addressing climate change.


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