The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 17, 2013

State news briefs

The Associated Press


Company IDs worker killed in well pad blast

FLEMINGTON (AP) — A contractor has identified an employee who was killed in an explosion at an EQT natural gas well pad in Taylor County.

Central Environmental Services CEO Jeff Harper told WBOY-TV that Brian Hopkins was near two tanks when the explosion occurred Friday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has said the worker was attempting to transfer briny wastewater from a tank into a truck.

Harper said Hopkins hadn’t begun transferring water when the explosion occurred. He says the transfer is a routine activity that the company’s employees do every day.

Harper said CES is cooperating with state and federal investigators. The company also is conducting an internal investigation.

EQT spokeswoman Linda Robertson has said the accident wasn’t related to drilling.

Plant expansion to be finished by year’s end

Wheeling-Nisshin expects to begin production of a new product at its plant in Brooke County by the end of the year.

The company is spending $28 million to add a new corrosion-resistant, hot dip coated steel sheet line at its Follansbee plant.

Wheeling-Nisshin human resource manager Nick Cortese told The Herald-Star of Steubenville, Ohio, that the company expects to conduct a noncommercial trial in May. Commercial production is expected to begin in late November.

Wheeling-Nisshin’s parent, Nisshin Steel Co. Ltd., developed the new coating, called ZAM. It’s a combination of zinc, aluminum and manganese.

Federal training center in W.Va. plans grass burn

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife training center in the West Virginia is planning a controlled burn to promote the growth of native warm-season prairie grasses.

About 22 acres will be burned at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown between the end of February and mid-April. The burn is dependent on suitable weather conditions.

Land manager Phil Pannill told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., that the prairie grasses are highly desirable habitat for ground nesting birds and small mammals such as rabbits and mice.

Pannill said the grasses thrive on fire.

He said the fires also will consume invading shrubs and trees that would otherwise take over the fields.

Switchgrass, Indiangrass and little and big bluestem are among the varieties growing at the center.

W.Va. joins other states in challenges

CHARLESTON (AP) — West Virginia’s attorney general is joining other states that are challenging a section of federal bankruptcy law.

Attorney General Patrick Morrissey has also filed a friend of the court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging New York’s tough new gun law, according to media reports.

The bankruptcy challenge involves the Dodd-Frank Act. A section of the law allows the federal government to decide which of a bankrupt company’s creditors to bail out.

Morrissey said West Virginia holds investments in many institutions that could be covered by the so-called bail-out provision.

Morrissey also announced Thursday the state is joining 19 other states to challenge a section of the New York gun law that requires residents to show a particular need before they can obtain a concealed weapons permit.

WVU makes tomato seeds available

MORGANTOWN (AP) — West Virginia University is making seeds of a blight-resistant tomato available to home gardeners.

The West Virginia 63 tomato was developed at WVU 50 years ago as part of the state’s centennial celebration. WVU says a limited supply of seeds will be available starting March 4.

Retired WVU professor Mannon Gallegly bred the tomato. He says the West Virginia 63 is good for both canning and for slicing in sandwiches.

Seeds can be obtained from the WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Unit at 304-293-6131. Seeds are limited to one packet per household while supplies last. They also can be requested through local WVU Extension offices.