Breaking Local News
State regulators have scheduled a public hearing on a company's application to renew permits for two underground injection wells in Fayette County. Danny E. Webb Construction Inc. operates the wells at a facility near Lochgelly. The wells pump oil and gas drilling waste underground. The Department of Environmental Protection says it will host a public hearing on the company's permit renewal applications on Jan. 7 at Oak Hill High School and they'll take witten public comments through Jan. 17. Environmental organizations and some residents have said the company has a history of violations and the wells pose a threat to health, water resources and property values. Webb has said he operated the wells legally.
A former West Virginia lawmaker is being tapped to become the 22nd clerk of the House of Delegates. In January, Steve Harrison is set to replace Greg Gray, who has been House clerk since 1996 and is the third-longest serving House clerk in state history. Harrison served in the House from 1993-2002 and served one term in the Senate from 2003-06. The Charleston Gazette reports that Harrison is leaving his position as an executive at Poca Valley Bank at the end of the year, ending an 18-year career there.
Drivers beware...The West Virginia State Police is increasing patrols on U.S. 119 in four counties. The targeted enforcement, called Operation 119, began Friday and will continue through Dec. 31. State police say troopers in Boone, Lincoln, Logan and Mingo counties will patrol the highway during the morning and evening rush hours looking for aggressive driving and speeding violations, along with distracted drivers.
West Virginia State Fire Marshal Anthony Wayne Carrico will be leaving his post at the end of the year. The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety say Carrico has accepted a position as a corrections program manager at the Division of Corrections. Carrico had been acting state fire marshal since April 2013 and permanently took the post in October. The Boone County native joined the Fire Marshal's Office in 1992 after graduating from West Virginia University.
The Putnam County Public Service District will pay a $10,230 fine to settle water pollution violations that occurred during construction activity. The civil penalty is part of a consent order issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. According to the order, the PSD also must submit a plan to achieve compliance with the water pollution control permit it received for the project. Violations discovered by DEP during an April inspection included creating sediment deposits on the bottom of a tributary of Rockstep Run and creating an open dump. The order says the violations occurred during land disturbance activity in Scott Depot.
About 750 Alpha Natural Resources workers at West Virginia coal mines will keep their jobs, despite layoff warnings this summer. In a news release Monday, Alpha said operations will continue at eight mines in Logan, Mingo, Boone and Raleigh counties. In July, Alpha warned 1,100 West Virginia workers at 11 mines of anticipated layoffs because of weak domestic and international markets and federal regulations. Eight mines extended layoff notices in September. Two mines were idled, resulting in 193 layoffs. One mine kept operating without a layoff warning. Alpha officials credited Monday's announcement to cost-cutting measures and sales improvements in some areas. Officials also warned of a more volatile coal market.
Freedom Industries president, Gary Southern, is facing federal charges filed Monday, related to the chemical spill in January. Southern has been charged federally with bankruptcy fraud, making a false oath in a bankruptcy case and wire fraud in connection with the investigation and bankruptcy proceedings following the spill. WCHS TV reports the documents filed in federal court claim Southern made false statements under oath to attempt to protect personal assets that total more than $7.7 million.
A rollover accident Saturday night killed a 15-year old girl and another was hospitalized. Charleston Police say Nikole Josephine Booth died from injuries when she lost control of the SUV she was driving on I-64 near the Oakwood Bridge in Charleston. She was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected. A 16-year-old passenger was also in the vehicle, and was taken to CAMC with non-life threatening injuries. Police believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash.
West Virginia University's board will take two more weeks to decide whether to retain exclusive rights to purchase Mountain State University's campus in Beckley. The board delayed its decision until Dec. 22 at a meeting Friday in Morgantown. The university says the board will continue its analysis of academic possibilities and economic factors associated with the deal. Mountain State closed after it lost its accreditations in 2012 and the University of Charleston took over Mountain State's campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg so students could complete their degrees.
Republican lawmakers have chosen a new West Virginia Senate president and House of Delegates speaker. The West Virginia Republican Party says Mercer County Sen. Bill Cole was named as Senate president and lieutenant governor during a caucus of GOP senators on Sunday. House Republicans named Kanawha County Delegate Tim Armstead as House speaker during their caucus.In January, Republicans will hold majorities in both the House and the Senate for the first time in eight decades following the November general election. Armstead previously served as House minority leader.