Erica Peterson http://wkyufm.org en New Carbon Capture System at Kentucky Plant Could Be 'Game-Changer' http://wkyufm.org/post/new-carbon-capture-system-kentucky-plant-could-be-game-changer <img class="wysiwyg-asset-image-wrapper inset" data-caption="" data-attribution="Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wfpl/files/styles/card_280/public/201301/Mill_Creek2.JPG" alt="" /><p>Kentucky has long been known for coal. But a new project unveiled today has the potential to let the commonwealth also be known for coal technology.<p>A bevy of scientists and elected officials are in Harrodsburg this morning to cut the ribbon on a new carbon capture pilot project. Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:07:59 +0000 Erica Peterson 51378 at http://wkyufm.org New Carbon Capture System at Kentucky Plant Could Be 'Game-Changer' Kentucky Swimming Advisories Still in Effect Due to E. Coli Bacteria http://wkyufm.org/post/kentucky-swimming-advisories-still-effect-due-e-coli-bacteria <p>The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is warning swimmers and boaters to stay away from several streams and tributaries in Eastern Kentucky.</p><p>The waterways are contaminated with E.coli bacteria, which comes from human and animal waste, and the problem is so extensive that the swimming advisories have been expanded to include all of Kentucky’s lakes and rivers after heavy rainfall.</p><p>Untreated sewage is released into streams and rivers from combined sewer systems—or CSOs—in cities like Louisville. It also runs off agricultural fields, leaks from aging septic tanks and is deposited directly into the river through straight pipes in some rural areas. Tim Joice of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance says data shows the number of stream miles affected by E.coli is growing, and it could take another 15 to 20 years to get the problem under control.</p><p>“We likely, especially in cities, will not see substantial improvement in CSO issues or insufficient wastewater treatment capacity issues for another number of years,” Joice said.</p><p>The state’s swimming advisories—which include the Upper Cumberland River, Kentucky River and Licking River—are in effect until further notice. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:23:48 +0000 Erica Peterson 51103 at http://wkyufm.org Judge: Current Law Does Not Allow for Use of Eminent Domain for Controversial Pipeline Project http://wkyufm.org/post/judge-current-law-does-not-allow-use-eminent-domain-controversial-pipeline-project <p>A Franklin County judge has ruled that Kentucky law doesn’t allow the use of eminent domain for a natural gas liquids pipeline. The move is the latest blow to the controversial Bluegrass Pipeline project.</p><p>The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids across Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico. The NGLs are used in manufacturing processes, but the project has been controversial because of worries about the project's environmental impact and safety concerns.</p><p>A measure to block NGL pipelines from using eminent domain is moving through the state legislature, but the Franklin County ruling adds another legal hurdle to the project. Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that the pipeline doesn’t fall under the commonwealth’s definition of “public service,” and thus couldn’t use eminent domain.</p><p>Tom FitzGerald of the Kentucky Resources Council filed the lawsuit on behalf of several Kentucky landowners. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 21:38:43 +0000 Erica Peterson 45665 at http://wkyufm.org Using Hidden Camera Evidence, Environmental Groups Plan to Sue LG&E for Discharges into Ohio River http://wkyufm.org/post/using-hidden-camera-evidence-environmental-groups-plan-sue-lge-discharges-ohio-river <p>After collecting a year's worth of images of what they say are illegal discharges from one of Louisville Gas &amp; Electric's coal ash ponds into the Ohio River, environmental groups say they plan to sue the company.&nbsp;</p><p>The Notice of Intent to sue filed by the Sierra Club and Earthjustice alleges that even though LG&amp;E's permit allows “occasional” discharges directly into the Ohio River, the company has released water from its coal ash ponds into the river at least daily for the past five years.</p><p>"It’s obvious that they think they can operate with impunity," said Tom Pearce, a local Sierra Club organizer. "It’s the reason that we can’t eat fish out of our river. It’s the reason that our river is rates as one of the dirtiest rivers in the country. Is it any wonder?" Mon, 17 Mar 2014 22:57:02 +0000 Erica Peterson 45248 at http://wkyufm.org Water Pollution Violations in Kentucky, Other States, Leads to Millions in Fines for Company http://wkyufm.org/post/water-pollution-violations-kentucky-other-states-leads-millions-fines-company <p>One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay more than $27 million in fines and spend another $200 million in a settlement with the federal government. Alpha Natural Resources was fined for violating water pollution limits in Kentucky and four other Appalachian states.</p><p>The settlement is for more than 6,000 violations between 2006 and last year. Some of the violations were at mines owned by other companies—like Massey Energy—that Alpha purchased. The EPA says the company’s Appalachian mines discharged large amounts of heavy metals directly into streams.</p><p>Alpha Senior Vice President Gene Kitts says the company has implemented advanced technology to control pollution at some of its coal mines.</p><p>"We feel the settlement is fair. We have systems already going into place," he said.</p><p>Kitts says the settlement payout won’t affect ongoing operations, or cause the company to close any mines or lay off any workers.</p><p>This is the largest penalty the EPA has ever levied under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act. After the settlement was announced, environmental groups sent out a statement criticizing the agency for letting the pollution happen in the first place. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:34:15 +0000 Erica Peterson 44692 at http://wkyufm.org Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline Would Be Impacted by Eminent Domain Bill Passed by Kentucky Commitee http://wkyufm.org/post/proposed-bluegrass-pipeline-would-be-impacted-eminent-domain-bill-passed-kentucky-commitee <p></p><p>A legislative committee has advanced a bill to clarify Kentucky’s eminent domain laws.</p><p>If the bill becomes law it would amend Kentucky law to clarify that natural gas liquids pipelines—including the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline—aren’t eligible for eminent domain in the commonwealth.</p><p>Legal experts have disagreed as to whether the Bluegrass Pipeline could use eminent domain to obtain easements to carry the byproducts of gas drilling through Central Kentucky. The Judiciary Committee heard rushed testimony from several landowners, but none of the representatives from the laborers’ international union in attendance spoke. The group has previously voiced support for the pipeline. &nbsp;</p><p>Representative Johnny Bell of Glasgow spoke directly to those union members when casting his vote.</p><p>"Those of you who are up here today to protect your jobs, we all appreciate that," the Barren County Democrat said. "Your job is important to you and it’s important to us, but I feel that a person’s property rights is one of the highest rights that we have in this country, so I vote yes on that and thank you all for being here today."</p><p>Now that the bill has cleared committee, it will be up for a vote on the House floor before it goes to the Senate. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:31:01 +0000 Erica Peterson 44380 at http://wkyufm.org Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline Would Be Impacted by Eminent Domain Bill Passed by Kentucky Commitee Miner Alleges Workplace Discrimination After Muhlenberg County Company Fired Him http://wkyufm.org/post/miner-alleges-workplace-discrimination-after-muhlenberg-county-company-fired-him <p>A Western Kentucky coal miner is alleging several counts of workplace discrimination, after he reported safety problems at his job and was fired.</p><p>Four cases against Ken American Resources were filed last week.</p><p>Patrick Shemwell worked at a coal plant operated by Ken American in Muhlenberg County. He initially filed six discrimination complaints against his employer, saying he was retaliated against and ultimately fired for reporting safety problems at the prep plant.</p><p>The company settled, and Shemwell got his job back.</p><p>But according to the lawsuits filed last week, almost immediately, more problems arose. He reported unsafe conditions, was reassigned to equipment on which he had no training, received a death threat, and ultimately was fired again.</p><p>Since 1977, the federal Mine Safety and Health Act has protected miners from discrimination for reporting safety issues.</p><p>“My guess is that Patrick has filed more discrimination cases under that law than any other miner in the country during that time period," says Shemwell's lawyer, Tony Oppegard. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:51:29 +0000 Erica Peterson 44029 at http://wkyufm.org Fuel Entered Pulaski County Cave System after Tanker Spill http://wkyufm.org/post/fuel-entered-pulaski-county-cave-system-after-tanker-spill <p>Clean-up is continuing nearly two weeks after a tanker truck spilled thousands of gallons of fuel in Pulaski County, Kentucky.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The fuel has also gotten into a local cave system.</p><p>An 8,000 gallon fuel spill would cause problems no matter the location. But the accident on January 30 was in the midst of the Sloans Valley cave system near Somerset, and early tests showed that at least some of the fuel entered the cave.</p><p>Kevin Strohmeier is an emergency response coordinator with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection. He says since Friday, air tests for volatile organic compounds at cave entrances have been negative. This could mean that all of the fuel that got into the cave has volatilized and evaporated, but Strohmeier says there are still environmental concerns at the spill site.</p><p>"I think probably just making sure that we try to maintain control of the source and if we can remove it, we do that," he said. "If we can’t remove it, we monitor it and recover as much of it as possible.</p><p>Strohmeier says he doesn’t yet know if there was any permanent damage done to the cave system by the spill.</p><p>Caves are very sensitive environments, and wildlife officials have also been monitoring the local bat population. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 23:00:24 +0000 Erica Peterson 43754 at http://wkyufm.org Eastern Kentucky Bearing Brunt of Kentucky Coal Job Losses http://wkyufm.org/post/eastern-kentucky-bearing-brunt-kentucky-coal-job-losses <p></p><p>Kentucky’s coal industry shed more than 2,300 jobs last year, according to the latest numbers from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.</p><p>Most of those losses were in eastern Kentucky .</p><p>The final quarterly coal report from the Energy and Environment cabinet wraps up a dismal year for the industry. And for Eastern Kentucky, this marks the 10<sup>th</sup> straight quarter of declining coal employment.</p><p>Since 2007, Eastern Kentucky has lost more than 6,000 coal jobs, just under half. Coal production has dropped even more drastically. At the same time, production and employment have grown modestly in the western portion of the commonwealth.</p><p>A number of factors are behind the decline, including pollution controls that allow plants to burn higher sulfur coal, like that mined in western Kentucky and Illinois. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 20:36:47 +0000 Erica Peterson 43401 at http://wkyufm.org Eastern Kentucky Bearing Brunt of Kentucky Coal Job Losses Kentucky Wildlife Officials Calling Just-Ended Sandhill Crane Hunting Season a Success http://wkyufm.org/post/kentucky-wildlife-officials-calling-just-ended-sandhill-crane-hunting-season-success <p></p><p>Kentucky’s third annual sandhill crane hunting season wrapped up Sunday, and Fish and Wildlife officials are calling it a success.</p><p>The most recent numbers show 87 birds were killed in this year’s sandhill crane hunting season, mostly in Barren County. That’s slightly lower than last year, when 92 birds were killed. But both years, the actual hunt fell far below the quota of 400 birds the Department of Fish and Wildlife set.</p><p>Wildlife Biologist John Brunjes says nearly 400 people got permits to hunt sandhill cranes this year, but many weren’t successful.</p><p>"They’re an extremely difficult bird to hunt, they’re extremely wary," Brujes said. "It’s a challenge. The biggest limiting factor is there are only a few places where they occur in the state."</p><p>When Kentucky first began allowing sandhill crane hunting in 2011, it was controversial. Opponents argued the birds aren’t overpopulated or damaging the environment, and should be protected.</p><p>This year, Brunjes says there were about 68,000 birds in the sandhill crane’s eastern population. If that number ever fell below 30,000, that would trigger an automatic halt to the hunting season. Mon, 13 Jan 2014 20:43:35 +0000 Erica Peterson 42390 at http://wkyufm.org Kentucky Wildlife Officials Calling Just-Ended Sandhill Crane Hunting Season a Success