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Voters cast their ballots on Election Day in McArthur, Ohio.

Ohio Valley Election Officials Prepare For Unprecedented Pandemic Election

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — Governors, Secretaries of State, and other state and local election officials throughout the Ohio Valley are preparing for an unprecedented election during a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced local governments to change practices that have been the same for decades, and to do so in a highly charged political… Read More

A voting sign points into a polling location

What Do You Need To Know About Voting In Election 2020?

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OVR) — In this year like no other, Election 2020 will be unlike other elections. The coronavirus pandemic makes some of the usual in-person voting a potential health hazard. Election officials have had to create new ways to safely and fairly conduct elections. And the hyper-partisan political atmosphere can make it harder to… Read More

The Letcher County Farmers Market on a September weekend.

Back To The Land: The Future Challenge And Opportunity Of Appalachian Agriculture

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WHITESBURGH, Ky. (OVR) — A line of blue and yellow pop-up tents stand along the North Fork of the Kentucky River during a sunny September weekend in downtown Whitesburg, Kentucky, and Valerie Horn is doing her part to keep the Letcher County Farmers Market rolling. Pumpkins and watermelons fill tarps laid out on the ground next… Read More

Rep. Graviss

Ky. Health Officials Suggest Revisions To Food Producer Fee Proposal After Blowback

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (OVR) — Kentucky health officials are suggesting revisions to a proposed regulation that would have dramatically increased food safety inspection fees for some small food producers. Department officials said they received hundreds of public comments on the proposal with concerns about fee increases and they now plan to limit fees according to a producer’s… 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

Piles of coal

Remembering A Miner Who Personified Coal’s Contributions And Costs

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Charles Wayne Stanley ran underground mining machines for some 20 years, cutting coal from beneath the hills where Virginia meets Kentucky along the Cumberland ridge. He spent another decade as a roof bolter, work that kept the rock above from falling in on his fellow miners. Stanley was 53 when the Ohio Valley ReSource and… Read More

Ohio University's Cutler Hall on the first day of the semester.

College Towns Feel Financial Impact Of Pandemic

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ATHENS, Ohio (OVR) — The first day of classes at Ohio University is subdued this year. A few students walk across the Athens, Ohio, campus wearing masks. A group sits, socially distanced, on blankets on the green. The university opted to bring back roughly 2,000 students to campus for the first weeks of the semester due… Read More

Miners assemble on railroad tracks to block a shipment of coal from a Blackjewel mine.

Former Blackjewel Miners Could Get More Money From Proposed Settlement

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CASPER, Wyo. (OVR) — A proposed $17.3 million settlement of a class action lawsuit would provide additional payment for hundreds of Appalachian coal miners who were suddenly left jobless by the abrupt bankruptcy of the Blackjewel mining company. The settlement must be approved by the judge overseeing the complicated Blackjewel bankruptcy case. Although it is not… Read More

President Donald Trump speaks from the South Lawn of the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington.

“False Hope” or Four More Years? Ohio Valley Stakeholders Reflect On Trump Energy Policy

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (OVR) — In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump was all-in on the fossil fuel industry. In a 2016 rally in Charleston, West Virginia, the candidate proudly accepted an endorsement from that state’s coal association, donning a hardhat while he mimed digging coal. To thundering applause, he promised to bring back coal jobs to the struggling… 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

Piles of coal

Mine Safety Officials Won’t Do More To Protect Coal Miners From COVID-19, Letter Says

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (OVR) —The Mine Safety and Health Administration is declining to issue an emergency temporary standard that could protect coal miners whose jobs make them vulnerable to the coronavirus. That’s according to an August 14 letter from Department of Labor Deputy Assistant Secretary Joe Wheeler to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. MSHA can issue emergency temporary… Read More

This Aug. 22, 2018, file photo shows a sign declaring the future home of Braidy Industries' aluminum mill in Ashland, Ky.

Report On Russian Interference In Elections Raises Questions About KY Project

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ASHLAND, Ky. (OVR) — A new report from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in U.S. elections raises new questions about a struggling eastern Kentucky development project with ties to both Senator Mitch McConnell and the Russian government. The 966-page document, the result of a years-long bipartisan investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee,… Read More

Courtesy of Madison Buchanan

Student Journalists Document The Pandemic in Appalachia

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (OVR) — “Hello,” the call began. “This is a prepaid debit call from an inmate at the Virginia Department of Corrections.” Madison Buchanan, a 19-year-old college student, pressed 0 to accept the call and was connected to Jacob Alan Shouse, Offender Number 1101441. “I want to thank you so much for helping me… 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

Piles of coal

Oversight Office: MSHA Should Do More To Protect Miners In Pandemic

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (OVR) — 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… 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

Miners assemble on railroad tracks to block a shipment of coal from a Blackjewel mine.

No Pay, We Stay: A Look Back at the 2019 Protest that Rocked Appalachia

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CUMBERLAND, Ky. (OVR) — 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…. 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

A Kentucky home displays green lights in memory of those lost to COVID-19.

Surging Coronavirus Cases Threaten To Derail Reopening In Ohio Valley

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (OVR) — At the Community Farmers Market in Bowling Green, Kentucky, vendors and shoppers are adjusting to the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. That includes wearing face coverings, maintaining distance, and taking other precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Market manager Susan Warrell said their first days under the state’s recent mask… 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

Piles of coal

Ohio Valley Coal Companies Scored Tens Of MIllions In Paycheck Protection Loans

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (OVR) — More than 50 Ohio Valley coal companies received loans totaling as much as $119 million through the Paycheck Protection Program meant to keep people employed during the pandemic’s economic downturn. Congress passed the PPP in March to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and out of unemployment lines. The data released… Read More

Health officials urge the use of face masks in public to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Masking Questions: How Pandemic Health Measures Became Politicized

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MURRAY, Ky. (OVR) — Health officials and researchers say the science is clear: face masks can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Yet in the Ohio Valley, not all elected officials are in agreement on whether to mandate measures such as the use of face masks in public places. In April, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike… Read More

A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly

Overdose Incidents Rose Sharply Around Ohio Valley During Pandemic

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (OVR) — Emergency response data from across the Ohio Valley show sharp increases in suspected drug overdoses since March, when health measures including school and business closures and stay-at-home orders increased social isolation. For public health officials, it’s a grim reminder that another epidemic is ongoing and possibly worsening during the isolation associated with… Read More