Environment

Environment
5:08 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Fifty Kentucky House Lawmakers, From Both Parties, Sign Pro-Coal Letter Sent to President

The Speaker of the Kentucky House and a bipartisan group of 50 House members have penned a letter to President Obama, expressing their concern over what they call the administration’s “unfair attack on coal.”

The letter—written by House Speaker Greg Stumbo—says the lawmakers are concerned about the President’s recent speeches about further limits to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The letter says coal in Kentucky “is a way of life”, and that coal had a $10 billion economic impact in the state in 2010.

The lawmakers write that “promising initiatives that should satisfy both sides of the climate debate are essentially left in the research lab, while the environmental impact of other major energy sources is minimized by comparison.”

Environmental advocates, on the other hand, want the President to take a tougher stance on coal, and hope the E.P.A will soon enforce tough new carbon pollution limits on coal plants.

The pro-coal letter was signed by 50 Kentucky House members, including Owensboro Democrats Tommy Thompson and Jim Glenn, Butler County Republican C.B. Embry, and Bowling Green Republican Jim DeCesare.

Here is the full text of the letter.

Environment
3:38 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Gov. Beshear's Son, Andrew, Helps Represent Company Behind Bluegrass Pipeline

Governor Steve Beshear’s son is working on behalf of the developers behind the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. The project would carry natural gas liquids through Kentucky and down to the Gulf Coast region.

The State Journal in Frankfort reports that attorney Andrew Beshear works for a law firm that has performed services for a subsidiary of Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, one of the two companies developing the Bluegrass Pipeline. The younger Beshear told the paper his firm was hired through a long-time client and that services are provided by more than a dozen attorneys.

The news comes as critics of the pipeline have been asking Governor Beshear to consider adding the issue to the agenda of a special legislative session coming up later this month—something Beshear says is unnecessary.

A spokesman for the Bluegrass Pipeline project says Andrew Beshear was not hired because of his relationship to the governor.

The pipeline would cut through northern Kentucky and into Hardin, Larue, Meade, Nelson, and Breckinridge counties.

Environment
3:24 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Report: No Rules Prevent Kentucky Coal Plants from Dumping Pollutants into Waterways

A report released by a coalition of environmental and clean water groups says twenty coal-fired power plants in Kentucky are discharging toxic metals into nearby waterways.

The report is called “Closing the Floodgates”, and was authored by the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, the Environmental Integrity Project, EarthJustice, and WaterKeeper Alliance.

The report points out coal plants are under no requirement to monitor or report discharges of toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, and selenium.

You can see the full report here.

Sierra Club organizer for the western Kentucky region Thomas Pearce says his group and others want the Environmental Protection Agency to start enforcing tough new standards for coal-fired power plants.

Pearce says under current rules, coal plant operators don't even feel like they have to hide what they're doing.

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Environment
8:00 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Volunteers Sought for Butterfly Count in Kentucky

A butterfly census is taking place in Kentucky July 20.

Kentuckians can enjoy a day in the country to count butterflies as part of a national census.

The count will be done in Oldham County on July 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

University of Louisville biology professor emeritus Charles Covell and other specialists will lead activities in the fields and forest of UofL's Horner Wildlife Sanctuary.

Participants are urged to wear hats, hiking shoes, long pants and long-sleeved shirts and bring water, lunch and insect repellent. Covell will supply nets but volunteers can use cameras, binoculars and notebooks.

Last year's local count yielded 36 species and 765 individual butterflies.

Volunteers should meet at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Sugarbabe Antiques in Brownsboro, about one mile northwest of Exit 14 off Interstate 71.

Environment
8:54 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Water Level at Lake Cumberland Higher than It Should Be, But No Problems Reported

Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River

Heavy rains have pushed the water level on Lake Cumberland higher than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants it for this summer.

Reservoir Operations Manager Tom Hale told The Commonwealth-Journal  the lake will reach 714 feet above sea level Thursday. That's about nine feet below the tree line and nine feet above the 705-foot target level for this summer.

Some 23,600 cubic feet of water per second were being released through Wolf Creek Dam to lower the lake.

There are no problems at the dam. A 7-year rehabilitation of the mile-long structure was completed in March and the lake level was allowed to rise 20 feet for this summer's vacation season.

The heavy rains created tides along small creeks that washed a lot of debris into the lake.

Environment
8:43 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Ft. Knox Unveiling Largest Solar Panel Array in Kentucky

Solar panel arrays capture sunlight and convert it into electricity.

Fort Knox is unveiling the largest solar panel array on a military installation east of the Mississippi River. The new additions will complement the large solar network already operating at the post.

A ceremony Wednesday morning at the Hardin County army post will debut the array, which will be larger than any other solar panel farm in the state of Kentucky.

The new system includes 10,000 photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight into electricity. A Fort Knox spokesman says the post will be able to supplant a portion of its energy consumption with the solar panels at a cheaper rate than electricity provided by local power plants.

The new array was constructed at no cost to the government through a partnership with Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation.

At the conclusion of a 25-year contract, ownership of the array will be transferred to Ft. Knox, with all energy production available to the military post at no cost.

Environment
4:13 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Proposed Bluegrass Pipeline Would Send Natural Gas Shipments Through an Estimated 18 Ky Counties

Land agents are in Kentucky trying to secure easements for a proposed interstate natural gas liquids pipeline that would go through an estimated 18 counties. And residents of some of those counties are gearing up for a potential legal battle over pollution and safety concerns.

The proposed Bluegrass Pipeline announced by companies in Oklahoma and Texas would connect natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia with export centers on the Gulf Coast.

One proposed path of the pipeline would extend through northern Kentucky southward into Nelson, Larue, Hardin, Meade and Breckenridge counties. Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts had scheduled a meeting with company officials and the public that was to be held Tuesday morning, but the company cancelled, citing an illness and the need to resolve issues related to the pipeline’s potential route through Ohio.

Mary Ann Chamberlain, a Nelson County native whose family owns property in the county, told the Courier-Journal that the proposed route would cut through scenic and sensitive areas of the commonwealth and could break apart and pollute surface and groundwater.

A spokesman for one of the natural gas companies says hundreds of property owners in Kentucky will likely be approached in the coming months with requests for access to survey their land and possibly buy easements along the proposed pipeline path.

Environment
3:04 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Henderson County Region Gets Grant Funding to Boost Recycling Programs

Henderson County is the recipient of $1.4 million in grants aimed at improving recycling efforts in the region.

More than $900,000 will go towards the Tri-County Alliance Recycling Center, which covers Henderson, Webster, and Union counties. The Center’s goal is to reduce the amount of recyclables that are dumped in area landfills.

The new funding will go to create one large, centralized recycling center that will collect, process, and market recyclables. The new 3,000-square-foot recycling center is currently under construction in Henderson.

As part of the grants announced Wednesday, the Hugh Edward Sandefur Training Center is receiving $500,000. The nonprofit serves Daviess, Henderson, Union, and Webster counties and provides employment training to those with disabilities.

The Center recently signed an agreement to reclaim and recycle electronic waste in western Kentucky and southern Indiana.

Environment
1:30 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

LG&E, Charah Partner to Create New Agriculture Pellet from Coal Byproduct

A partnership between LG&E and KU and a Kentucky company could help both the energy and agriculture sectors, Kentucky leaders announced Monday.

Kentucky company Charah  is opening up a facility in Louisville that will take leftover gypsum from the Mill Creek Power Station and turn it into a sulfur product —such as fertilizers—for Kentucky farmers.

Kentucky agriculture is in need of sulfur products to help grow strong crops, state agriculture leaders said. The new venture will also help reduce a byproduct from coal-fired power plants.

Many of Kentucky's top leaders turned out for the announcement, including U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who says the new product is great for multiple needs, including the economy and the environment.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Glasgow Hopes to Turn Methane from Landfills into Electricity, Avoid Sending it Into Atmosphere

The city of Glasgow is joining forces with regional power providers to make better economic and environmental use of methane emitted from local landfills.

Following a vote this week by the Glasgow City Council, mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman can now open negotiations with Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative and East Kentucky Power Cooperative to create a landfill gas generation project.

Currently, methane emitted from garbage at local landfills is vented into the atmosphere. Under the new plan, methane would be piped into a generator and converted into electricity.

Trautman says the city is trying to act in advance of new federal regulations regarding methane that go into effect in 2016.

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