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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A western Kentucky utility says it’s withdrawing a pollution-control plan after an E.P.A rule was struck down in court this week. The Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric Cooperative says it will save customers about $225 million by dropping the plan.
A three-judge panel has voted two to one to strike down a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would require some states to reduce pollution that travels across state lines. This puts the EPA in a difficult position.
A new report says Kentucky is the worst state in the nation when it comes to toxic air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The analysis was released Thursday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and looked at emissions from power plants in 2010, the most recent data available.