Breaking Local News
West Virginia lawmakers have passed a bill letting the Legislature approve state plans to meet proposed federal carbon emission standards. Senators passed a proposal 24-10 Wednesday requiring the GOP-led Legislature's vote before the state sends compliance plans to the Environmental Protection Agency. It requires a state feasibility report 180 days after EPA's rule is finalized. The House passed a similar bill Feb. 6. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said legislative approval would restrict environmental regulators. Coal industry groups said lawmakers should be included. EPA's anti-global warming proposal aims to drop emissions from existing coal-fired plants by 30 percent nationally by 2030, compared to 2005. West Virginia's reduction would be 19.8 percent by 2030, compared to 2012. State plans are due June 2016, or 2017 with extensions.
Another one to two inches of snow are possible today, in addition to what's already on the ground from earlier in the week. The heaviest snow has fallen in southern West Virginia, with up to 14 inches in spots along the I-64 corridor. More schools are closed today, including the districts in Kanawha, Lincoln, Mingo, Logan, Raleigh, and Putnam counties. Cross Lanes Christian School is also closed today.
Federal investigators are looking into what caused Monday's train crash near Montgomery. There's no cause for the derailment just yet, but they're looking at how the train was handling prior to the crash, the cars and the track...likely also the weather as they consider all factors in the moments before the crash. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin declared a State of Emergency after the crash and the crude oil spill, which sent the National Guard into action. So far tests at West Virginia America Water have come back negative for any evidence of crude oil and the Montgomery water treatment plant is running again.
The WV House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday that will expand medical malpractice liability caps to cover more health care agencies like nursing homes and pharmacies. Though the bill passed, some amendments were rejected that would have waived caps on non-economic damages like pain and suffering, in some malpractice suits in cases. The Senate also passed a version of the bill, and now the House version goes back to the Senate so the two versions can be reconciled.
Between one and two thousand people are in the evacuation zone after Monday's train derailment near the Fayette-Kanawha County line, and they are staying in emergency shelters. Again, those spots are: the Fallsview Community Center, Valley High School, Armstrong Creek Community Center, and the Montgomer Fire Department. Those shelters will be open as long as they're needed.
Another scam is being investigated by the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office. The caller in this scheme identifies himself as a detective with the Sheriff’s Tax Investigation Unit, and the sheriff's office says the calls are not legitimate. If you get a call like that, contact the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office at 304-357-0169 and if you can, make a note of the numbers on caller ID and any names given by the callers.
Environmentalists want lawmakers to keep drinking water protections for rivers and streams across the state. And there were citizen groups that turned out Monday to ask members of the House Judiciary Committee to approve the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to extend those protections to the part of the Kanawha River that runs through downtown Charleston, according to the Charleston Gazette. There were several references to last year's chemical spill in the Elk River that contaminated drinking water supplies for 300-thousand. Many industry groups oppose adding drinking water protections The House Judiciary Committee may act on the DEP water quality bill this week.
Marshall University's historic football showdown with Purdue has been rescheduled to Sept. 6, a Sunday. Originally scheduled one day earlier, the game has been rescheduled by Conference USA for national television. Purdue's visit to Marshall will mark the first time the program has hosted a Big Ten foe. The Thundering Herd is coming off a 13-1 season.
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin issued a State of Emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties after yesterday's train derailment in Fayette County. Once the weather clears the National Guard can enact some air procedures which can help get water and supplies to those affected. Power has been knocked off or shut off for thousands, and the need for water at Montgomery General Hospital has been critical. The DEP is asssessing how much oil spilled into the Kanawha River, and more will be known this week. West Virginia American Water has shut down the intake at Montgomery, to make sure the plant and it's water supply is not contaminated, according to WCHS TV.
The American Red Cross has hired an executive director for its newly formed southeast West Virginia chapter. Stephanie Meadows will be responsible for day-to-day management, fundraising, and promotion for the Beckley-based chapter. The chapter covers 11 counties. Meadows is a Concord University graduate with 15 years of experience at nonprofit organizations. She began her career with the Red Cross in October 2011 as a development coordinator. She also has worked with fundraising for Habitat for Humanity, the Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation and the March of Dimes.