West Virginia

WEST VIRGINIA

The Mountain State is the second largest producer of coal and the fourth-largest energy producer in the country, with large reserves of recoverable coal that have fueled a long history of coal mining. As the world moves away from coal, states like West Virginia are struggling to adapt to job loss in the sector and fear that they will be disproportionately hurt by an energy transition. Its politics are heavily directed by coal, but despite opposition from the governor and a powerful coal lobby, the coal miners union and even some Republicans are indicating that they are ready to address coal pollution and climate change. Natural gas is poised to take the place of coal, with the state producing more natural gas than coal for the first time in 2018, with most of that production exported to neighboring states

 
West Virginia does not have a state-wide climate adaptation plan, and only a modest renewable energy sector that powered, in 2018, approximately 5% of the state’s electricity generation. The mountainous terrain is well suited to hydropower and also hosts windfarms on the ridges in the east. Natural gas contributed a little over 2%. The bulk of its own electricity comes from coal — 92%.
 

West Virginia is the most flood prone state in the US, with a State of Emergency issued almost every year until 2019 when a State of Emergency issued in October was for a severe drought.

West Virginia's Climate || U.S. CLIMATE TOUR

CURRENT NEWS

West Virginia’s flood resiliency fund doesn’t have any money in it. Justice asked lawmakers for $50 million

By Sarah Elbeshbishi 01/18/24
As West Virginia faces a heightened risk of flooding, Gov. Jim Justice is asking the Legislature to allocate $50 million to a special trust designed to help implement the state’s flood resiliency plan that is…
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State lawmaker returns from international climate change conference

By Mike Nolting 12/21/23
Delegate Evan Hansen is back from his trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai and is hopeful the world community will take steps for what President Joe Biden calls “an opportunity for…
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West Virginia’s Resiliency Plan Underfunded, Underdeveloped

By Mike Tony 12/13/23
West Virginia is especially flood-prone, but the latest meeting of a state legislative panel on flooding underscored that its flood resiliency framework lacks funding and is underdeveloped.
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Hotter summers, warmer winters in West Virginia? New climate report offers scalding outlooks

By Addy Bink 11/21/23
It might be hard to think of warmer days — especially with a strong El Niño likely to bring more snow this year — but a new federal climate report shows the U.S. could face…
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What’s Worse for the Climate: Joe Manchin or No Manchin?

By David Gelles 11/14/23
Joe Manchin III, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, has been one of the Senate’s most consistent and strident defenders of fossil fuels — except for one crucial vote.
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Displaced Miners Find Work in Renewable Energy Boom

By Benjy Sachs 10/30/23
Dale Davis, a retired coal miner in Cadiz, Ohio, left the profession because of a lack of job security. Laid off four times in the course of more than three decades in mining, Davis has…
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WVU partnering with industry to improve health, environmental outcomes for disadvantaged communities

10/18/23
A West Virginia University team of industrial engineers is looking to turn $800,000 worth of Environmental Protection Agency funding into direct support for local industry.
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Old West Virginia Steel Mill Becomes a Green-Energy Powerhouse

By Scott Patterson 09/18/23
For decades, iron ore was shipped into a sprawling steel mill on the banks of the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. Iron deliveries will resume soon at the 55-acre site, this time as a key ingredient…
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A renewable energy battery plant will rise in US where a steel mill once stood

By Dharna Noor 08/14/23
cutting-edge energy storage company is building its main manufacturing plant where a once-thriving West Virginia steel mill once stood in the city of Weirton. According to lawmakers, the much-lauded project was made possible by incentives…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Halted as Legal Wrangling Heats Up

By Coral Davenport 07/12/23
A federal court in Richmond has halted construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, setting off a battle with Congress that could end up at the Supreme Court.
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Court Halts Section of Construction on Mountain Valley Pipeline

07/12/23
A federal appeals court has ordered a halt to construction of a section of the Mountain Valley Pipeline that runs through the Jefferson National Forest, as it reviews a challenge by environmental groups. Last month’s…
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Looking at the White House Through Wildfire Smoke

By Bill McKibben 06/08/23
I’m sitting on a rocking chair just outside the White House fence on Thursday afternoon, and I can more or less make out the seat of American executive power through the haze. In the morning,…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Not just coal: West Virginia’s solar energy industry continues to grow

03/11/24
West Virginia has long been one of the nation’s leading producers of electrical energy, largely due to the coal industry.

Clearway Energy bets big on the future of West Virginia wind

03/11/24
Clearway Energy, one of the nation’s largest renewable energy companies, is betting big on the future of wind energy in the Mountain State.

West Virginia Updates Renewable Power Projects Laws to Expand Solar Energy Use, Attract Businesses

03/07/24
A fresh bill, called House Bill 5528, is raising the limit on the size of these projects. The old limit was 50 megawatts, but now it's going up to 100 megawatts. The bill is also…

This is what happens when a wind farm comes to a coal town

02/26/24
Sheila Wagoner is not a fan of the wind farm overlooking Keyser, West Virginia.

Virginia Lawmakers Elect Pivotal Utility Regulators To Oversee Energy Transition – Inside Climate News

02/18/24
An energy regulation expert and a consumer advocate in Virginia are poised to become pivotal decision makers in shaping the state’s efforts to transition away from fossil fuels.

House committee sitting on bill that would require utilities to buy solar energy for the same price they sell it

02/13/24
For months, West Virginia regulators have been considering a request by utility companies to change a key solar incentive, which advocates have warned will make solar less affordable and stifle the state’s budding industry. But…

West Virginia is required to have a five-year plan outlining its energy priorities. It hasn’t published one in nearly a decade.

01/24/24
West Virginia, a state that continues to laud its role as an energy producer, hasn’t had an energy plan on the books for a decade, despite a state law requiring it.

Clean energy jobs are coming to West Virginia, but who’s going to work them?

01/17/24
In Weirton, a new battery plant aims to transform how renewable energy is stored. In Mason County, the Nucor steel plant under construction will be partially powered by solar energy. In South Charleston, a company…

LG says entrepreneurship, renewable energy, healthcare will blossom from West Virginia presence

01/03/24
West Virginia officials today welcomed an investment by LG, the international tech and electronics powerhouse.

Coal-producing West Virginia is converting an entire school system to solar power

11/30/23
An entire county school system in coal-producing West Virginia is going solar, representing what a developer and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s office touted on Wednesday as the biggest-ever single demonstration of sun-powered renewable electricity in…

$50M Clean Energy Manufacturing Facility Planned In West Virginia

06/12/23
lean Vision Corporation, an emerging leader in the sustainable clean technology and green energy sectors, will invest at least $50 million and create at least 40 new jobs with the establishment of a manufacturing facility…

KEY RESOURCES

West Virginia State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/10/21
West Virginia is the nation's fifth-largest energy producer and has abundant fossil energy and renewable resources. Located in the center of the Appalachian Mountain region, West Virginia's boundaries follow the region's mountain ridges, valleys, and…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Roadmap for Solar on Mine Lands

05/26/21
This report lays out a roadmap for West Virginia to build upon its legacy as a domestic energy provider by capitalizing upon the vast land base of former surface coal mines as sites for new…

About Office of Energy

10/20/20
The West Virginia Office of Energy is responsible for the formulation and implementation of fossil, renewable and energy efficiency initiatives designed to advance energy resource development opportunities and provide energy services to businesses, communities and…

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in West Virginia

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, West Virginia experienced three severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in West Virginia

08/07/20
Climate and Energy Polling in West Virginia

Wind Energy in West Virginia

04/20/20
Find wind data and information in West Virginia, including maps, capacity, ordinances, and more

West Virginia Center on Climate Change

04/14/20
West Virginians are increasingly affected by the crisis of human-caused global warming and climate change.  To address this challenge, West Virginians need science-based research, education, communication, dialogue, advocacy, policy, and action.  The mission of the…

Central Appalachian Summit Mesonet

04/10/20
The Virginia Tech Department of Geography has begun the development of a regional mountaintop mesonet in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, and the Apogee TS-100 aspirated radiation shield is being used to…

MORE NEWS

The debt ceiling deal bulldozes a controversial pipeline’s path through the courts

By Bill Chappell   06/01/23  
The controversial natural gas pipeline has been stalled by court challenges — but now the Mountain Valley Pipeline has new momentum, thanks to a debt ceiling deal that gives sweeping approvals to the project.
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DOJ sues coal firms owned by Jim Justice’s family

By Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk   05/31/23  
The Justice Department on Wednesday announced a civil action against coal mines owned by the son of 2024 West Virginia Senate candidate Gov. Jim Justice (R).
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WVU Energy Institute transforming to serve emerging energy trends

05/17/23  
West Virginia University, a leader in energy research and innovation, is repositioning the institutes within its Research Office to best meet industry-wide transitions.
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Biden Administration Approves Key Permit for West Virginia Gas Pipeline

By Lisa Friedman   05/16/23  
The Biden administration has granted a crucial permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project championed by Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, despite opposition from climate experts and environmental groups.
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West Virginia’s coal industry pushes back on EPA rules targeting carbon emissions

By Bob Aaron   05/12/23  
The Biden Administration's proposed new limits on greenhouse gas emission from power plants frame its most ambitious effort yet to curb greenhouse gases and global warming. The nation's 3,400 coal and natural gas power plants…
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PJM presentation to WV lawmakers shows state has massive renewable energy backlog

By Mike Tony   05/09/23  
West Virginia lawmakers heard again, at an interim legislative session meeting Tuesday, from a representative of the Mid-Atlantic power grid operator covering West Virginia that recently highlighted potential reliability risks to meeting rising electricity demand.
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Will the Chesapeake Bay Become a Dead Zone?

By Duy Linh Tu and Sebastian Tuinder   05/03/23  
The country’s largest estuary is under critical threat from pollution and climate change. The question is: Can it be saved? In the 4,500-square-mile Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary, nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater treatment…
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WVU announces drill date for first geothermal, carbon capture and storage data-collection well in West Virginia

04/28/23  
Drilling will start on the West Virginia University geothermal and carbon capture data-collection well during the second week of May, marking a significant step forward in clean energy research in West Virginia.
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How green is West Virginia?

By Isaac Taylor   04/18/23  
West Virginia is the least-green state, according to a study by WalletHub.
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Court throws out crucial water permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Naveena Sadasivam   04/05/23  
In exchange for his help passing the most far-reaching climate law in U.S. history, Senator Joe Manchin hoped to fast-track a 303-mile natural gas pipeline that’s being built in his home state of West Virginia.…
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As WV lags behind in climate targets, state environmental advocates urge greater action in response to U.N. report

By Mike Tony   03/23/23  
Gov. Jim Justice announced a State of Preparedness for all 55 West Virginia counties Thursday in response to National Weather Service predictions of possible flooding, a day after signing bills into law to support the…
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The Stream, February 22, 2023: Rising Floodwaters in Kentucky and West Virginia Prompt State of Emergency

By Christian Thorsberg   03/16/23  
An underground nuclear test site in North Korea may have exposed tens of thousands of people to groundwater containing radioactive material.
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BHE Renewables project aims to keep West Virginia on map for energy transition opportunities

By Carrie Hodousek   03/14/23  
A new solar project in Jackson County will keep West Virginia on the map when it comes to energy transition opportunities, according to the president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE) Renewables.
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WV House keeps gas and coal electric generation site designation bills separate

By Mike Tony   03/08/23  
The West Virginia House of Delegates voted narrowly Thursday to keep two coal and natural gas-focused bills with the same goal separate after a roughly hour-long debate comparing the benefits of and challenges facing each.
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Leaders Break Ground On $500,000,000 Investment To Build Global Aerospace Manufacturing Hub …

03/08/23  
West Virginia state leaders joined the top executives of three companies Saturday to break ground on a project to build the future of American manufacturing on a foundation of clean energy. A groundbreaking event was…
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Federal Agency Gives Green Light to Mountain Valley Pipeline Completion

By Hoppy Kercheval   03/07/23  
The protracted legal and permitting fight over the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline may be nearing its end. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued an exhaustive opinion that construction of the natural…
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West Virginia’s Decision on Coal Could Have Major Implications for Electricity Rates and the Environment

03/07/23  
West Virginia, long known for its coal mining heritage, finds itself at a crossroads on the future of its iconic fossil fuel. With coal-fired power plants across the country retiring at record rates, West Virginia…
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Coal is expensive. West Virginia wants more of it.

By Arianna Skibell   03/06/23  
West Virginia is at a crossroads on coal. The state’s upcoming decisions on its iconic fossil fuel could have major implications for reducing planet-warming pollution, the future of coal in the eastern United States, and…
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Gov. Justice Announces Our Next Energy (One) To Build Battery Storage System Manufacturing Facility In Jackson County

03/06/23  
Gov. Jim Justice announced today that Our Next Energy (ONE), a Michigan-based energy storage technology company, has entered into an agreement with the State of West Virginia to locate its Aries Grid battery storage system…
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West Virginia tests the state’s coal future for electricity

By Miranda Willson   03/06/23  
West Virginia is at an impasse over how much to run some of its largest coal-fired power plants, with implications for carbon emissions and the future of coal in the eastern United States.
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Bill signed for West Virginia renewable energy battery plant

By John Raby   02/24/23  
West Virginia's governor on Friday signed a bill that gives $105 million in state funding for a renewable energy battery plant in a former steel town. Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill at the site…
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Appalachian solar developer and non-profit to bring 100 jobs to West Virginia

By Michael Schoeck   02/20/23  
Clean energy jobs are coming to coal country. Appalachian region solar developer Solar Holler and Coalfield Development Corporation, a non-profit job recruitment organization, jointly announced a partnership to train 100 new workers over the next…
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Ignoring Climate Risks Has Inflated Property Values in Flood Zones

By Thomas Frank   02/17/23  
Home buyers are paying excessive prices after ignoring flood risk and the costs of insurance and repairs, a new study finds. A study released Thursday says the climate-driven housing bubble threatens homeowners with plummeting values…
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WV Senate approves $105 million for a renewable energy plant

By Associated Press   02/16/23  
West Virginia's Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a $105 million investment for a renewable energy plant in the state's Northern Panhandle. Senators approved the appropriations bill on a 21-13 vote after lengthy debate. The…
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Biden-Harris Administration Provides $262 Million to Improve Access to Jobs, Health Care and Infrastructure Across the Rural Partners Network

02/15/23  
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is providing $262 million to improve access to jobs, health care and infrastructure for people in historically underserved communities…
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$105 million incentive for Weirton battery plant survives clean energy critics

By Mountain State Spotlight Staff   02/09/23  
As West Virginia’s public health insurance agency faces a financial crisis, today we got the first look at how lawmakers plan to address it. Also, why the age to buy tobacco is still 18 in…
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Pressing Safety Concerns, Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline Gear Up for the Next Round of Battle

By Phil Mckenna   10/07/22  
As the U.S. Senate begins a month with two extended recesses, Maury Johnson of Greenville, West Virginia, has a proposal for how Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), someone he considers an old family friend, could best…
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Investigating the obstacles to action on climate change.

09/13/22  
A few weeks ago we had Jesse Coleman, with Documented, walk us through how the same dark money network that once funded climate denial is now funding state treasurers in an effort to push back…
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West Virginia coal country will test power of Democrats’ climate bill

By Jeff Stein   08/13/22  
Travis Elswick used to spend his days detonating millions of tons of explosives, blowing holes in the Appalachian Mountains so miners could reach the coal underneath. Now he’s considering applying for a job at a…
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Manchin’s Donors Include Pipeline Giants That Win in His Climate Deal

By Hiroko Tabuchi   08/07/22  
After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as…
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Democrats’ side deal with Manchin would speed up projects, West Virginia gas

By Jeff Stein and Others   08/01/22  
A side agreement reached between Democratic leadership and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) as part of their broader deal on an economic package would overhaul the nation’s process for approving new energy projects, including by…
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Manchin, playing to the home crowd, is fighting electric cars to the end

By Coral Davenport, Lisa Friedman and Hiroko Tabuchi   07/12/22  
The West Virginia senator, who holds the swing vote in negotiations for a budget plan, wants to cut incentives. The president and most Senate Democrats say buyer credits are crucial to fight climate change.
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What the SCOTUS ruling on EPA and emissions means for climate change

By Kelsey Simpkins   07/11/22  
In a 6-3 majority led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court denied the EPA the authority to create emissions caps, stating that Congress must provide specific direction to the EPA—instead of a broad scope…
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Repowering Project Aims for Pinnacle of Success

By Darrell Proctor   07/01/22  
Repowering of power generation facilities can provide an aging plant with a new lease on life. But there’s more to it than just extending an installation’s operational lifecycle; repowering can increase power generation capacity, the…
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Wall Street firms face W.Va. boycott over alleged fossil fuel bias

By Jordan Wolman   06/14/22  
BlackRock Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and U.S. Bancorp are due to be placed on West Virginia’s Restricted Financial Institution List in 45…
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Flooding Inundates Residential Areas in West Virginia

05/08/22  
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for Cabell, Putnam, and Roane counties on Friday, May 6, after heavy rainfall led to “significant” flooding in northwest parts of the state.
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Manchin open to methane fee in climate, energy talks

By Nico Portuondo   05/06/22  
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin expressed optimism yesterday that a fee on methane emissions could be part of a bipartisan climate and energy package currently being negotiated behind closed doors. But the…
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Manchin, Kelly Join GOP to Pass Motion Against Biden Declaring Climate Emergency

By Jake Johnson   05/05/22  
Two right-wing Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Kelly of Arizona, crossed the aisle Wednesday to help Republicans approve a motion aimed at barring President Joe Biden from declaring a climate emergency,…
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Which States Are the Most Environmentally Friendly?

By Sarah Lozanova   05/05/22  
A majority of Americans see the effects of climate change in their own communities and believe the federal government should do more to stop them. Despite growing concern about the climate crisis, some states are…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline, a litmus test for big projects, is delayed again

By Anya Litvak   05/04/22  
Equitrans Midstream Corp. has again delayed the start date for its 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline and raised its estimated cost to $6.6 billion, more than twice the original estimate.
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Another delay and cost increase announced for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Laurence Hammack   05/03/22  
Mountain Valley Pipeline will again seek new permits that have twice been cast aside by the courts, delaying completion to the second half of 2023 and boosting the project’s cost to $6.6 billion.
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JOE MANCHIN IS UP TO HIS USUAL SHIT: CLIMATE CHANGE EDITION

By Eric Lutz   05/02/22  
He’s at it again. Joe Manchin, the self-appointed gatekeeper of his party’s agenda in the evenly-divided Senate, is once again making noise about the potential for a bipartisan deal to address energy and the climate.…
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Manchin energy mantra collides with reality in W.Va.

By Scott Waldman   04/26/22  
When Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) explains why he has blocked key parts of the president’s climate agenda, he often points to his support for an “all-of-the-above energy” strategy. In recent months, Manchin sank President Joe…
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Former West Virginia coal mine to become solar farm

By Tyler Arnold   04/15/22  
SEVA West Virginia will develop 3,000 acres of the former Hobet mining site in Boone and Lincoln Counties into a solar farm. The counties are in southern West Virginia. The company is partnering with the…
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Biden’s ‘cost of carbon’ policy survives court challenge

By Kevin McGill   04/14/22  
In a victory for President Joe Biden, a federal appeals court Thursday refused to revisit its March decision reviving administration plans to account for potential damage from greenhouse gas emissions when creating rules for pollution-generating…
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WV is the least green state, study says

By Shayla Klein   04/13/22  
West Virginia ranks low in percent of renewable energy consumption and energy consumption per capita. It ranks average in air quality, soil quality, and gasoline consumption per capita. In general categories, the state ranks 48th…
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Coal is Still King in West Virginia, but Solar Power is Coming on Strong

By Tina Casey   04/13/22  
When a U.S. senator with a personal stake in the coal business deploys his position in Congress to support fossil energy interests, that’s no surprise. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is a case…
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Arrests at WVa protest denouncing Manchin coal industry ties

04/11/22  
Grassroots groups blocking the entrance to a West Virginia power plant denounced Sen. Joe Manchin’s ties to the coal industry, and several arrests were made. Dozens of protesters rallied Saturday outside the front gate of…
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Update: Supreme Court to weigh EPA authority on greenhouse pollutants

By Lexi Smith   02/09/22  
The Supreme Court in late February is to hear West Virginia v. EPA, a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses as pollutants. This site in November explored best- and worst-case…
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Manchin’s strategy isn’t climate denial — it’s craftier

By Chelsea Harvey   12/23/21  
Sen. Joe Manchin isn’t a climate denier — at least not in the traditional sense. He doesn’t deny the existence of human-caused climate change.
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