Bay Journal

William H. Funk

Shenandoah Valley hot spot of solar co-ops lighting up VA

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The central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is rapidly becoming a hot spot for solar cooperatives, as new alternative energy opportunities attract a wide cross-section of homeowners eager to strike out on their own with renewable electricity.

The Mountain & Valley Solar Co-op closed itself to new members on July 19, capping out at 118 households in the western portions of Augusta...

A few rays of hope - and another major setback for VA pipeline opponents

The multi-billion-dollar Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a natural gas conduit that has been proposed to cross environmentally sensitive areas in Virginia, continues to move through the regulatory process, though several new developments offer environmentalists and private landowners cause for cautious optimism.

On Oct. 13, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave formal approval...

Peregrine falcons slow to return to Appalachia

Able to dive after avian prey at a shrieking 200 miles per hour, the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on Earth. Yet the return of the peregrine to its historic habitat in the western Chesapeake region has been anything but speedy.

After their numbers were decimated in the mid-20th century by DDT pesticide poisoning, peregrines have made a strong comeback in Eastern urban...

Holy smoke! Sometimes a fire is just what a forest needs

On a bright spring morning, in the Mills Creek area of the George Washington National Forest, flames crept slowly up the far end of a mountain ridge.

The whitish smoke grew in volume and depth as the unseen fire, pushed by a slow but steady breeze, climbed steadily skyward.

U.S. Forest Service personnel watched the billowing smoke, but made no move to quell the spreading...

PA approves one natural gas pipeline; VA agency questions another

A controversial natural gas pipeline through a portion of Pennsylvania’s Bay watershed cleared a major hurdle last week, not long after another contentious pipeline proposed through Virginia drew expressions of concern from that state’s conservation agency.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued two permits on Wednesday to the builder of the...

In about-face, VA’s governor turns against offshore drilling

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe pulled an about-face Thursday on his previous support for offshore oil drilling, saying that he now wants the Atlantic Ocean waters off his state excluded from an upcoming federal leasing program.

Citing primarily economic but also environmental concerns, McAuliffe said that with the Trump administration’s “reckless actions” regarding oil...

Into the woods: Diversity of Tizzle Flats casts its spell on hikers

High on the ridge of Virginia’s Shenandoah Mountain, I hunkered down to examine some toadstools when my eyes caught a series of regular hatch marks etched into the tree trunk just above me — the kind of marks made by large, chiseled claws, leaving rags of torn bark hanging down at about chest level.

I called back my hiking buddies, who were tramping on down the trail ahead, and...

Virginia city’s share of $50 million cleanup deal still in doubt

A federal judge has approved a deal requiring the chemical company DuPont to pay $50 million for decades of mercury pollution of Virginia’s South River, finalizing the largest natural resources settlement in state history.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Urbanski did not specify how much, if any, of the $42.1 million earmarked in the settlement for restoration...

Opposition grows to seismic testing for offshore oil reserves

Scientists are worried that an executive order issued by President Trump earlier this year that seeks to open large portions of the mid-Atlantic and other coastal areas to oil and gas exploration would harm the endangered North Atlantic right whale and other species that occasionally visit the Chesapeake Bay.

Trump’s order, issued April 28, would reverse a 2016 policy from the...

One pipeline through VA clears hurdles; another in PA gets fined for violations

A natural gas pipeline proposed to cross Virginia cleared two more regulatory hurdles last week, while Pennsylvania regulators announced a crackdown on multiple pollution violations that have occurred in the construction of another pipeline across that state.

Federal energy regulators gave a generally positive environmental assessment of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline,...

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About William H. Funk

William H. (Bill) Funk is a freelance environmental journalist whose work for the Bay Journal centers on wildlife, forestry, rivers, farming and other land use issues in the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

 

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