Nearly three years after a deadly mine explosion in West Virginia, a former Massey Energy mine superintendent has been sentenced to prison and federal regulators have toughened a regulation that could have helped prevent the disaster.
The announcement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, would seem to give Republicans a big opening in a state that has gone deep red in recent presidential elections.
But West Virginia's animus toward recent Democrats in the White House, especially President Obama, doesn't necessarily translate into Republican advantages in statewide races.
When the 20-inch gas pipeline next to Interstate 77 in West Virginia first ruptured on Tuesday, nobody at pipeline operator, Columbia Gas Transmission, knew it.
Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is trying to find out why. NTSB member Robert Sumwalt says no warning went off in the operating company's control center in nearby Charleston, so investigators are going there to interview staffers and review data.