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Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray speaks at the EnVision Forum

Ohio Valley Coal Mine Executive Bob Murray Dead at 80

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ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (OVR) — Robert E. Murray, the founder and former president and CEO of Murray Energy Corp., formerly the largest privately-held underground coal company in the country, has died. He was 80 years old. Murray’s death was reported Sunday evening by television stations WTOV9 in Steubenville, Ohio, and WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia. According to the news… Read More

Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray speaks at the EnVision Forum

Bob Murray Announces Retirement From Coal Company He Founded

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ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (OVR) — After applying for black lung benefits, Robert Murray, founder and former president of the now-bankrupt coal company Murray Energy Corp., announced Monday he was leaving the business after more than 60 years in the industry. Murray Energy emerged from bankruptcy protection last month as American Consolidated Natural Resources (ACNR). The 80-year-old Murray was named chairman… Read More

Pipeline awaits installation in a natural gas project.

Drilling Permits Cancelled For Underground Natural Gas Storage Project

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MONROE COUNTY, Ohio (OVR) — Ohio environmental regulators have canceled key permits needed for an underground natural gas liquids storage facility proposed along the Ohio River. According to an order from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, permits to drill three three Class III solution mining wells in Monroe County, Ohio were cancelled on Sept…. Read More

Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray speaks at the EnVision Forum

Murray Energy Exits Bankruptcy, Rehires Union Miners

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ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (OVR) — Coal mining giant Murray Energy Corp. has emerged from bankruptcy with a new name and a commitment to rehire all of its former union employees, according to a news release from the United Mine Workers of America. UMWA President Cecil Roberts said on Wednesday that a new collective bargaining agreement has… Read More

In this image from video, Jill Biden is joined by her husband, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, after speaking during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020.

“The Proof Is In The Pudding.” Coal Country Responds To Democrats’ Clean Energy Transition

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPR) — Democrats made their pitch to the American people during a largely virtual Democratic National Convention and addressing climate change emerged as a central tenet of the party’s plan. The party platform spells out a major investment in green energy jobs and infrastructure in order for America to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emission no later… Read More

FILE – This April 4, 2017, file photo shows the entrance to FirstEnergy Corp.'s Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

Federal PAC Donations Show Ohio Valley Lawmakers Raked In Thousands From Utility FirstEnergy

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (OVR) — 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… Read More

Piles of coal

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

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (OVR) — 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… Read More

FirstEnergy’s Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant, located in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, shut down in November 2019.

Power Failure: A Massive Bribery Scheme Could Change Ohio Valley Energy Systems

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (OVR) — 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… Read More

Piles of coal

Coal Company Rhino Resource Partners Files For Bankruptcy

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (OVR) — Kentucky-based coal company Rhino Resource Partners LP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday, joining a growing list of Ohio Valley coal producers seeking financial restructuring as the U.S. coal industry continues to struggle. According to court documents, the company and its subsidiaries currently employ about 550 workers at underground and surface… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

Plan To ‘Reimagine Appalachia’ Touts Jobs, Justice and Sustainability For The Ohio Valley

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (OVR) — 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,… Read More

This March 15, 2018 photo shows a natural gas drill rig in Belmont County, Ohio.

Investor Pulls Out Of Proposed Belmont County Cracker Plant

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BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (OVR) — Daelim Chemical USA, a major investment partner in a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio, announced on Tuesday that it is exiting the project. In a joint statement with PTTGC America LLC, the Thailand-based company driving the project in the Ohio Valley, an executive said that despite Daelim’s withdrawal, the project… Read More

Kayak on river

Coal Towns Were Counting On Tourism For New Jobs. Then Coronavirus Hit.

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On a recent sunny weekday, Bill Currey proudly walks among 30 neatly stacked, brightly colored plastic kayaks. Birds chirp merrily, and the soothing sounds of the meandering Coal River permeate the background — nature’s version of a white noise machine.  For the tanned Currey, who also owns an industrial real estate company, being here, on… Read More

Court Orders Review Of Coal Mining’s Impact On Endangered Species

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A federal court on Friday approved a deal that requires two federal agencies to review the environmental impacts of coal mining on endangered species. Under the agreement, the Office of Surface Mining, the agency that regulates mountaintop coal mining, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — the agency that protects endangered species, will review… Read More

Gov. Justice takes the oath of office as his son James C. Justice III (center) looks on.

Justice Coal Companies Agree to Settle $5 Million in Delinquent Mine Safety Debts

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (OVR) — Coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Governor Jim Justice have agreed to pay more than $5 million in overdue mine health and safety fines and fees. According to a press release released Wednesday, a total of 24 coal companies owned by the Justice family agreed to settle millions of dollars… Read More

Piles of coal

UMWA Wants More Coronavirus Protections for Coal Miners

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The United Mine Workers of America is asking federal regulators to set uniform, enforceable guidelines to help protect coal miners from contracting COVID-19. In a letter dated Tuesday, March 24, UMWA President Cecil Roberts wrote to the Mine Safety and Health Administration requesting the agency issue a “safeguard” or “emergency standard” that would require coal mine operators… Read More

Biologists tag and release a northern flying squirrel.

Glidepath to Recovery: Flying Squirrels and Spruce Forests Share Common Fate

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U.S. Forest Service district biologist Shane Jones stands on an overlook high up on West Virginia’s Cheat Mountain. Behind him lush, red spruce trees stand like sentinels on this frozen landscape. As he looks out, small patches of green dot what is largely a view of the barren, brown trunks of leafless hardwoods. More than… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

Amid Climate Debate and Coal’s Decline, West Virginia Considers its Future

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On a recent soggy Wednesday evening, dozens of West Virginians packed a conference room inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center to discuss the need for a “just transition” for coal-impacted communities. As the nation grapples with climate change, the need for a fair transition for workers and communities that depend upon coal jobs and… Read More

Clendenin, WV faced intense rainfall that led to deadly flooding in June 2016.

After Deadly Floods, West Virginia Created A Resiliency Office. It’s Barely Functioning.

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The rain came hard and fast early on the morning of June 23, 2016. By 2 p.m., water was knee deep in Bill Bell’s appliance store on Main Street in Rainelle, a small town on the western edge of Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Bell began elevating the washing machines and dishwashers, thinking that would be… Read More

A Big Sandy Crayfish

New Protections Proposed For Imperiled Crayfish Species

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is proposing new protections for two threatened species of crayfish found in the Appalachian coalfields. Under the new proposed rule, published Tuesday in the Federal Register, the agency will designate 445 miles of streams in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia as “critical habitat” for the Guyandotte River crayfish and Big… Read More

Water pouring into water

New Testing Reveals ‘Forever Chemicals’ In More Water Systems Across OH, PA, U.S.

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New testing by the Environmental Working Group has identified the presence of toxic fluorinated chemicals, broadly known as PFAS, in the tap water of dozens of cities across the U.S. where contamination was not previously known. EWG, an advocacy organization that tracks environmental pollutants in consumer products, sampled water in 44 places between May and December… Read More

coal stack

Study Finds Coal Closures Saved Thousands Of Lives

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A new study finds the closure of coal-fired power plants and transition to natural gas generation across the United States over a decade saved an estimated 26,610 lives due to a reduction in air pollution, with about a fifth of those avoided deaths in the Ohio Valley. The coal-rich Ohio Valley states received outsized health… Read More

The Chemours facility, formerly the Dupont company’s site

‘Dark Waters’ Puts PFAS Saga on Big Screen as Ohio Valley Contamination Comes to Light

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The new film “Dark Waters” depicts the real-life story of the 20-year battle waged by attorney Rob Bilott against chemical giant DuPont. We meet Bilott, played by Mark Ruffalo, as a young corporate defense lawyer living in Cincinnati. His grandmother, who lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia, gives his phone number to local farmer, Earl Tennant…. Read More

The Paducah Water lab tests a variety of different water samples

Ohio Valley Residents Among Millions in America Lacking Access to Clean Water, Sanitation

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Communities across the Ohio Valley are among an estimated 2 million Americans that do not have consistent access to clean drinking water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report published Monday by two nonprofits, DigDeep and the US Water Alliance. The report titled, “Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States,” synthesized data… Read More

A scene from inside Portal 31.

Portal 31: How A Closed Mine Opened New Prospects For One Coal Town

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Devin Mefford is sitting in the squat metal buggy of a modified mantrip, the train-like shuttle coal miners use to travel underground. Mefford is dressed for work, in a hardhat and a navy shirt and pants with lime green reflective stripes. It’s a uniform his father and grandfather — both Kentucky coal miners — would… Read More

Piles of coal

EPA Proposes Changes to Federal Coal Ash, Wastewater Rules

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Federal environmental regulators released proposed changes to two rules related to the disposal of coal ash and wastewater from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced its third round of changes to its 2015 rule regulating coal ash. Coal ash is one of the largest waste streams in the country and often contains toxic… Read More