Environment

Environment
4:41 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Kentucky is Home to the Types of Chemical Weapons Allegedly Used in Syria

This is a side view of one of the igloos where chemical weapons are stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot in Richmond, KY.
Craig Williams

Richmond, Kentucky is the last site in the U.S. to continue storing the type of chemical weapons allegedly used in Syria.  The nerve agents Sarin and VX, banned worldwide, are housed at the Bluegrass Army Depot. 

Considered two of the world's most deadly chemical warfare agents, the stockpile is on schedule to be destroyed by 2023. 

One of the people overseeing the destruction is Craig Williams, the Chemical Weapons Project Director at the Kentucky Environmental Foundation.  He spoke to WKU Public Radio about the weapons stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot.

Environment
2:32 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Kentucky Lawmaker Wants "Brighter Line" on How Companies Can Use Eminent Domain

This sign was seen at an informational meeting in Frankfort about the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.
Credit Erica Peterson, Kentucky Public Radio

The chairman of the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee says he is pre-filing legislation that seeks to make clear that Kentuckians are free from the unregulated use of eminent domain.

Hopkinsville Democrat John Tilley says the issue should be clarified in light of the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. The proposed natural gas liquids pipeline would stretch from Pennsylvania to Louisiana, and cut through an estimated 13 Kentucky counties, including Breckinridge, Hardin, Larue, Meade, and Nelson.

Some landowners in counties along the proposed pipeline route have expressed concerns that the company would seek to use eminent domain laws to seize their land.

Rep. Tilley said in a news release issued by his office that the bill he has pre-filed will “strive to maintain the proper balance between those rights and economic development when it comes to safely transporting fossil fuels.”

"I believe the state needs to paint a brighter line on how pipelines like this are built and where they can be located."

The bill would put the Public Service Commission in the role of gatekeeper if those constructing pipelines can’t reach agreement with private landowners.

Environment
8:33 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Bluegrass Pipeline Won't Cross Through Sisters of Loretto Land

A spokesman for a company planning to build a pipeline through Kentucky says the proposed route for the project would avoid land owned by a group of Marion County nuns known as the Sisters of Loretto.

The Sisters had refused to allow the project's surveyors to enter their 780-acre property.

The proposed Bluegrass Pipeline 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.

A spokesman for Williams Company said Wednesday that the proposed route would "stay well to the north of Marion County." Pipeline opponents, including the Sisters of Loretto, have demonstrated against the project, saying it poses environmental risks.

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Environment
3:17 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Lawmakers to Hear from Both Sides of Debate Over Bluegrass Pipeline

The Kentucky state capitol building in Frankfort
Credit Kentucky LRC

Kentucky lawmakers will hear from both advocates and opponents of a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline Thursday.

If it’s built, the Bluegrass Pipeline would cross more than a dozen central Kentucky counties, carrying natural gas liquids from the Northeast to the Gulf of Mexico. Land agents have been in the state for several months, talking to landowners and asking for permission to survey property.

Some have agreed, but the project has attracted significant grassroots opposition from Kentuckians worried about the safety and environmental issues the pipeline could bring.

Pipeline company Williams says the pipeline would spur economic development and reduce the cost of consumer goods.

The Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment meets at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Capitol Annex.

Environment
12:27 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Kentucky's Coal Industry Jobs Hit Lowest Point Since 1927

Coal production in both of Kentucky’s coalfields has dropped slightly and employment is at a record low, according to the most recent quarterly report from the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet. The commonwealth produced nearly 20.5 million tons of coal in the second quarter of 2013, which represents a 1.3 percent drop from the first quarter of the year.

There was a slight drop in both the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields, but western Kentucky still produced slightly more coal—50.2 percent of the total production.

The data estimates there are 12,342 coal miners employed in the state—the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1927. That number represents a loss of 851 jobs, but the losses weren’t even among the coalfields. Eastern Kentucky lost jobs, while Western Kentucky’s coal industry grew slightly.

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Environment
10:19 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Bluegrass Pipeline Developer Holding Open-House Meeting Thursday in Elizabethtown

A developer behind a proposed pipeline that would run through parts of Kentucky is holding an open-house meeting  in Hardin County Thursday night to explain their plans. Williams, a construction company based in Tulsa, OK., is  hosting the meeting at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown from 5-7:30 p.m.

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast through northern Kentucky, and into several counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, Larue, and Breckinridge.

Pipeline opponents delivered a petition to Governor Beshear’s office Wednesday detailing their concerns about possible environmental damage and property rights concerns related to the project.

Governor Beshear has declined to add the pipeline issue to the agenda of a special legislative session that begins Aug. 19 in Frankfort. Beshear says he wants the sole item on the agenda to be legislative redistricting.

Environment
8:39 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Bluegrass Pipeline Opponents Delivering Petition to Beshear's Office

Land owners and environmentalists are gathering in Frankfort Wednesday to protest a proposed pipeline that would carry flammable liquids through several counties in northern Kentucky. A partnership of two energy companies announced a plan earlier this year to build the underground pipeline.

The Bluegrass Pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from sources in the northeast to a connection in Breckinridge County. A proposed route for the pipeline would also go through other counties in our listening area, including Hardin, Nelson, Meade, and Larue.

Environmental groups, including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, are planning to take a petition to Gov. Steve Beshear's office Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, the groups say they are concerned the pipeline project will use eminent domain laws to cut a pathway through privately owned lands.

Several landowners have voiced opposition to the project, and local governments in Franklin, Scott and Marion counties have passed resolutions opposing the pipeline.

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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