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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.