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A towing vessel and barges moving through the area monitored by the Louisville Vessel Traffic Service on Dec. 22, 2017. (Photo by Alexandra Kanik/KyCIR)

High Waters, More Hazardous Cargo Complicate Job of Keeping Ohio Watershed Safe

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Just before dawn in January 2018, 27 barges were floating like a net along the banks of the Ohio River, downstream of the city of Pittsburgh. Instead of fish, the fleet caught chunks of ice that broke off in the warming, fast-moving waters as it waited for a tow through the nearby Emsworth Locks and Dams…. Read More

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

Bankrupt Blackjewel Coal Still Racking Up Environmental Violations, Officials Warn

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An attorney for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet told a federal judge Wednesday that the bankrupt coal company Blackjewel has accrued nearly 300 environmental violations since it entered bankruptcy in July. “It’s essential that these violations are addressed, abated, and that they stop accruing,” Cabinet attorney Lena Seward told bankruptcy judge Frank Volk in the… 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

A grocery store

Grocers in Rural Coal Country Struggle to Stay in Business

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There’s a picture frame on the wall next to the customer service desk in the IGA in Inez, Kentucky. Inside the frame is a scrap of beige meat-counter paper, on which a man named Derle Ousley sketched the layout for an ad announcing the opening of his very first grocery store. “Inez Supermarket Grand Opening,”… Read More

Miners and supporters block the railroad in Pike Co., KY

More Unpaid Appalachian Miners Stage a Coal Train Blockade

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For the second time since summer, eastern Kentucky coal miners are blockading a railroad track to protest unpaid wages. The new blockade, which was started Monday afternoon by Quest Energy miners, echoes the months-long blockade by Blackjewel coal miners over the summer and speaks to a growing discontent in Appalachian coal country. “It’s hard to go… Read More

The U.S. Capitol

Regional Reaction to Iran: Ohio Valley Lawmakers Split on U.S. Killing of Iranian Commander


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Congressional members around the Ohio Valley offered mixed reactions to the U.S. airstrike that killed one of Iran’s top military officers and pushed the two countries closer to war. Most statements from regional lawmakers pointed to Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani’s record of orchestrating violent attacks on U.S. personnel, and many Republicans praised President Donald Trump… Read More

The coal power station on the border between WV and PA

2020 Hindsight: The Ohio Valley’s Decade in Data

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The year: 2009. A Senator from Illinois named Barack Obama has just made history upon taking the presidential oath of office. The national economy is at a low point in the Great Recession. And the Pittsburgh Steelers are the first NFL team to win six Super Bowls. Ten years later, as 2019 gives way to… Read More

PROACT Executive Director Micheal Haney (center right) with other recipients of the Innovation Now Awards in West Virginia

Innovating Recovery: Group Highlights New Approaches To Addiction Crisis

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After years of leading the nation in overdose death rates, Ohio Valley communities are looking for new ways to deal with the addiction crisis. A national nonprofit organization promotes and partners with programs that do just that. The Addiction Policy Forum celebrated new ideas at events in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia to honor programs selected in their Innovations to Address… Read More

Retired miners begin a meeting with the pledge of allegiance.

After Nearly A Decade Of Anxiety Over Pensions, Coal Miners See Light At The End Of The Tunnel

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Union coal miners and retirees breathed a collective sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate passed a spending bill that includes support for miners’ pensions, which had been at risk due to the coal industry’s downturn. The bill, which funds the federal government for the coming year, also includes The Bipartisan American Miners Act which secures pension… Read More