MT Talk – Water Issues 12-2-13
a boater on the North Fork of the Kentucky River near Whitesburg in Letcher County, Ky. // photo by Tarence Ray, courtesy of Headwaters, Inc. (more at kyheadwaters.org)
Central Appalachia’s watersheds face a wide variety of serious challenges to their health, including sedimentation, heavy metal contamination, stormwater runoff, and high levels of human waste in streams. In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, we welcome a panel of local guests to discuss the potential benefits, both human and economic, that could spring from making these waterways healthier. Tarence Ray of Headwaters, Inc., Wally Smith of UVA-Wise and the Clinch River Valley Initiative, and Jenny Williams of Pathfinders of Perry County all join us for a discussion of some of these potential benefits (including boating-related tourism, as in the photo above) and how our communities might be able to achieve them.
This discussion was made possible through Penn State Public Media’s Water Blues: Green Solutions project, specifically the “Think Outside the Pipes” reporting initiative. To hear previous podcasts of WMMT’s Mountain Talk, check out our streaming archives.
Coal Report 12-04-13 6m 00sec
a coal mine ventilation air methane (VAM) abatement system installed at Walter Energy’s Mine No. 4 in Brookwood, Al. // photo from the BioThermica website: http://www.biothermica.com/node/210
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that methane captured from local coal mines could be sold to companies in California who are looking to offset their own carbon footprints. California is the only state with a cap-and-trade program. Companies there are subject to a carbon emissions limit, and if they wish to exceed this limit, they can purchase credits that fund emissions-reducing projects across the country. One of these projects could be capturing and destroying the methane that is normally just vented into the air out of local coal mines. CONSOL Energy has set up pilot projects at some of its mines, and destroying the methane vented from just the McElroy mine in West Virginia would offset the emissions from a 50 megawatt coal plant over the course of a year. California’s system hasn’t been quite set up yet to allow these coal-methane projects to count—the state was supposed to vote on the coal-methane issue in October but pushed the vote back to the new year. But this could represent an additional revenue stream for local coal operators.
In a new bill that is one sentence long, a Kentucky lawmaker is proposing to require all power utilities in the state to keep a 30-day stockpile of their fuel source on-site at all times. This is a requirement that coal just so happens to meet, while gas Continue reading Coal Report for December 4, 2013
sweet potato latkes! // photo by Les Roll, check out more at the What's Cookin' Now facebook page
In this edition of What’s Cookin’ Now!, our brave hosts decided to celebrate a holiday that is little-known but is nonetheless replete with culinary potential: Thanksgivukkah! Jenny and Jonathan create Thanksgiving dishes with a Hanukkah twist: sweet potato latkes with cranberry sauce, pumpkin rugelach rolls, lamb livers mixed with caramelized onions and pears on matzoh, and brussels sprouts topped with mustard seed and matzoh meal. And, of course, hosts and audience alike all enjoy Thanksgivukkah Cocktails.
For more What’s Cookin’ Now!, check out their fantastic blog with photos, recipes, and more; OR you can stream past episodes at our streaming archive! If you’re hip to facebook, you can “like” them on there, too!
Coal Report 11-27-13 6m 00sec
the Century Mine in Beallsville, Ohio, site of a fatal accident this week // photo: REUTERS/Jason Cohn, found via http://www.miningconnection.com/longwall/featured_stories/article/under_obama_coal_country_fights_for_its_way_of_life/
Another coal miner has been killed at work, this time in Ohio. According to the preliminary MSHA accident report (found via the Charleston Gazette), miner Ryan Lashley was killed at Murray Energy’s Century Mine near Beallsville Ohio when a pressurized hydraulic hose became severed underground, which caused Lashley to be struck by high-pressure fluid. This is the 20th coal mining death in the US this year, and the first in Ohio. SNL Financial reports the Century mine is one of the top-producing mines in northern Appalachia. Murray has come under fire for safety issues in recent years: another employee was killed earlier this year in a drowning accident in Pennsylvania, and six Murray miners and three rescue workers were killed in the Crandall Canyon disaster in Utah in 2007, when a retreat mining operation caused a mine to collapse. That disaster was found by federal investigators to be Murray’s fault even though the company denied responsibility.
Speaking of Murray, the company recently bought 5 of the largest underground coal mines in West Virginia from CONSOL Energy, and SNL Financial reports this sale is symbolic of a “decisive step” for CONSOL away from coal and towards gas. CONSOL President Nicholas Deluliis said the company would still hold on to some coal mines, including the Buchanan mine in Continue reading Coal Report for November 27, 2013
Coal Report 11-20-13 5m 52s
the coal-burning Paradise Power Plant in Muhlenberg County, Ky. // photo found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyphotofile/5891310807/
Coal jobs and production in Kentucky are both down again, with the biggest losses happening in Eastern Kentucky. The state as a whole lost 439 coal jobs just in the third quarter, and 403 of those layoffs happened in our region, compared with just 36 coal jobs lost in western Kentucky. Counting the recent layoffs by James River Coal and Arch, Eastern Kentucky has now lost over 6,300 coal jobs since January 2011. And compared with the second quarter, coal production in Eastern Kentucky fell another ten percent, while production in Western Kentucky was essentially steady, being down just 0.3 percent in the 3rd quarter. In total, Western Kentucky is now producing more coal–with far fewer people–than East Kentucky.
The Tennessee Valley Authority has announced plans to retire 8 coal-burning generators at three different power plants, The Wall Street Journal reports. To comply with new rules on mercury emissions, 2 of the 3 coal-fired generators at the Paradise plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky will be retired, along with 5 generators at the Colbert plant in Alabama and 1 generator at the Widows Creek Plant, also in Alabama. To make up for the 3000 megawatts of electricity going off the grid, the TVA has Continue reading Coal Report for November 20, 2013
Our hearts are heavy today, after the tragic and sudden passing of one of our very own, Larry “Han” Napier, this past weekend. WMMT listeners may know him as DJ Seizzzy from the Back in the Day program, which aired Tuesday nights from ten to midnight. Han was also a great friend. This is incredibly shocking, and we will miss him dearly. His obituary is here; there will be a visitation Monday night from 6-9 and services will be held Tuesday in Hazard. It feels shallow and trite to say, but thank you for everything you did for us and this station, Han, and thanks for being our friend. We’ll miss you.
Coal Report 11-13-13 5m 52s
image from the Washington Post, found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/04/heres-why-central-appalachias-coal-industry-is-dying/
Yet another coal miner has been killed on the job, this time in Illinois. The Southern Illinoisan reports that miner Dallas D. Travelstead was killed at M-Class Mining’s Sugar Camp Mine in Franklin County, Illinois on Monday, November 4. According to the report, Travelstead was killed when a large piece of coal became detached from a longwall underground and fell on top of him. This is the 19th coal-related death so far this year, and the 4th to happen in Illinois.
In local coal news, the past week has seen more coal-mine layoffs hit east Kentucky. Struggling operator James River Coal has been strapped for cash for some time now, and it already idled half of its central Appalachian coal production this September, laying off over 500 east Kentucky mine workers. Now, the Hazard Herald reports James River has announced it will idle two more underground mines and two more surface mines, which will furlough around 200 more miners and contractors. The company said these furloughs, all at the Buckeye complex in Perry County, were “due to continued weakness in the coal market,” and that it hopes to re-open the mines in 2014. But James River also called the September Continue reading Coal Report for November 13, 2013
2013-11-07 MN WR
the home of Henry & Barbara Morgan in Premium, Ky., where high levels of pressurized methane have been detected in water wells. Henry is pictured on the porch
In this edition of WMMT’s Mountain News & World Report, we begin with a story that hasn’t been reported anywhere else.
Residents of the community of Premium in Letcher County made headlines this year for suing the nearby Sapphire Coal Company for having ruined their water supply. But just this fall, some community members found a new problem to deal with in their old water wells–unknown quantities of pressurized methane, which can be incredibly explosive under the right circumstances. And these residents have had to live on top of this gas for over two months now. WMMT’s Parker Hobson brings us their story.
Also in this program: in response to the recent sharp downturn in the central Appalachian coal industry, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and US Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-5) recently announced a that a summit called SOAR: Shaping Our Appalachian Region will be held December 9th in Pikeville to share new ideas and recommendations about how to move east Kentucky forward. As WMMT’s Making Connections project has reported, that conversation has already been going on among concerned Kentuckians for several years, including the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference held in Harlan last spring. In this program, we re-air WMMT producer Sylvia Ryerson’s report from that conference.
Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT. For previous episodes, check out our streaming archive.