The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a $5.2 million grant for out-of-work coal miners in eastern Kentucky.
The grant will fund re-employment services for miners who have been laid off. A statement from the Labor Department Monday says the funding will also help spouses of coal miners in the region who are looking to re-enter the workforce.
This grant was awarded to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. The program will train out-of-work miners and spouses to work in other industries in the region including business services, construction and health care.
The Office of Surface Mining has awarded Kentucky a $40 million grant to eliminate environmental hazards caused by past coal mining.
The money will go to the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands
The grants go to 28 coal-producing states annually. They're funded by a fee on mined coal and are intended to repair unstable slopes, eliminate acid mine drainage and restore damaged water supplies.
Kentucky Natural Resources Commissioner Steve Hohmann said the grant money has been used in past years to close mine shafts and portals, put out mine fires, eliminate dangerous highwalls and subsidence and to provide drinking water to residents in mining communities.
Union-backed coal miners in Kentucky and surrounding states are protesting a coal company’s bankruptcy proceedings they say jeopardizes pension and health care benefits for some 20-thousand retirees and dependents. Miners were picketing Wednesday outside Peabody Energy’s headquarters in St. Louis.
Two charter buses bound for St. Louis left early Wednesday morning from western Kentucky to join the protest led by the United Mine Workers of Amercia.
Peabody Energy is one of the nation’s largest coal companies and one of the companies the union accuses of orchestrating business deals that bankrupted Patriot Coal.
A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a bill that would block automatic utility rate increases for power plants that use natural gas.
The Courier-Journal reports Democratic Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence, the chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, is sponsoring the measure that would prevent utilities from utilizing a provision in state law called the "fuel adjustment clause", which allows utilities to adjust what it charges customers based on changes in cost of fuel or purchased power.
In an interview with the newspaper, Gooch called the measure a "consumer protection bill."
Gooch represents a House seat that covers Daviess, Hopkins, McLean, and Webster counties.
A Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky has landed on an environmental group's list of top polluters.
The report Thursday from the Environmental Integrity Project says the TVA Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro emitted 1,505 pounds of arsenic, 1,907 pounds of lead and 1,409 pounds of chromium in 2011. The plant was third on the group's metal emissions list that used the most recent data available from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The 2,200-megawatt plant is the largest in Kentucky by wattage output. TVA said in 2011 it is spending $500 million to upgrade pollution controls on two generating units at the plant. TVA's website says the work was to be completed by last month.
State leaders say a nearly $1 billion project to update pollution controls at a massive Louisville power plant will be a boost for Kentucky's coal industry. The upgrades at LG&E's Mill Creek Generating Station in southwestern Jefferson County are expected to add about 700 construction jobs. They will also allow the 1,400-megawatt plant to continue to burn coal by meeting stricter federal air regulations that go in force in 2016.
The first shipment in a huge deal to export coal to India hasn’t yet left Appalachia. The deal was announced in August: Kentucky-based Booth Energy agreed to send up to nine million tons of coal a year to India for 25 years, at an estimated value of $7 billion. The first shipment was supposed to be on its way by the end of September.
The Sierra Club along with environmental groups in Kentucky and West Virginia are attempting to block permitting at two mountaintop surface mines, alleging in federal lawsuits that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not consider potential health impacts on residents.
Coal miners are continuing to be the subjects of TV political ads in a Lexington-based congressional district that has no mines. Republican challenger Andy Barr went up Wednesday with another such ad in which miners, their faces covered in coal dust, criticize 6th District Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler.
Last week the state of Kentucky announced that India would purchase large quantities of coal from companies in the Commonwealth in the future. This week, some lawmakers in India are raising questions about the procedure used to sell coal fields in that country. Angry opposition lawmakers have shouted and crowded aisles in India's parliament to demand the prime minister resign.