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.

Kentucky Coal Plant Makes Top 10 Polluter List

Jan 3, 2013

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.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

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.

The involvement of a state representative in a major coal deal in Kentucky is raising some eyebrows. The $7 billion contract signed Wednesday creates a 25-year standing order to ship 9 million tons of Kentucky coal annually to India.

Coal mines in Kentucky and West Virginia will send millions of tons of coal to India, under the terms of a 25-year contract that was signed Wednesday. The deal is being hailed as a sign of hope in the coal export market.

The Associated Press reports that government inspectors have been keeping watch over coal operators through aerial surveillance in Central Appalachia, a region in which mountaintop removal mining has been controversial. The Kentucky Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement has spent more than $477,000 over the past four years for helicopter flights.

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