Saturday, June 11, 2011
EKB Capsule News...West Virginia...6-12-'11
- Friday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials defended proposed rules to cut power plant air pollution after American Electric Power announced Thursday the proposal could speed up the closure of three aging West Virginia power stations. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said their proposals provide utilities ample flexibility for complying and give states the ability to further delay deadlines if necessary. EPA officials also noted the proposals are decades in the making, part of a congressionally mandated effort to reduce illnesses and premature deaths linked to power plant pollution. EPA says, "These long-overdue Clean Air Act standards will slash hazardous emissions of mercury and other acid gases, preventing thousands of asthma and heart attacks and premature deaths."
- After five days and 50 miles, an estimated 350 surface mining protesters reached Blair Mountain Saturday after leaving Marmet on Monday. Marchers rallied at the mountain calling for an end to mountaintop removal, the protection of Blair Mountain, the strengthening of labor rights and a clean, local economy for central Appalachia. Famed environmentalist and lawyer Robert Kennedy Jr. and filmmaker Bill Haney vow their fight against mountain top removal coal mining in West Virginia is just getting started. Kennedy has spent much of his time over the past couple years traveling to West Virginia to fight big coal companies and mining practices that he says violate residents' rights to clean air, water and land. Kennedy said, "Two-thirds of the people in West Virginia are against mountain top removal, but not a single elected politician will say that." He also says, "The agency that's supposed to protect West Virginians from pollution (the state Department of Environmental Protection) has become the sock puppet of the industry it's supposed to regulate."
- Former Huntington Police Captain 50 year old Steve Hall died after battling brain cancer for five years. Hall had retired from the police force about six months ago. Visitation was held Saturday at Wallace Funeral Home in Barboursville. The funeral will be held with a full police honor guard Sunday, June 12th, at 2:00 P.M. at Antioch Baptist Church in Ona.
- State officials are reviewing the Huntington Work Release Center following four escapes in a month. Three inmates escaped from the center in the past week and a fourth escaped in May. Two of the inmates have been captured. Deputy Corrections Commissioner Jim Ielapi says the state's work release system, which also has facilities in Charleston and Beckley, has never seen four escapes in less than a month. Randall J. McGonagle escaped May 15th and was arrested nearly two weeks later. The other escapes were Dejuan Jones on June 3rd, David R. Knight on Monday and David Wayne Popp Jr. on Wednesday. Knight was captured on Wednesday in Huntington, and Popp was captured Friday night in Bluefield.
- A surface coal mine proposed for Fayette County by Frasure Creek Mining LLC is causing concern because it would be located 7 miles from a new adventure camp and future home of the Boy Scouts National and World jamborees. Residents packed a meeting of the Fayette County Commission on Friday to urge the commission to speak up against the surface mine. Commission President Matthew Wender said while the commission does not have a hand in the permitting for mountaintop removal, officials would look into other possible actions. Frasure Creek Mining LLC is owned by the Essar Group, which is based in Mumbai, India.
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