Earth Day in Ky. Includes Focus on Lead, Radioactivity

Apr 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016 is being celebrated globally with events in Kentucky as well.   At the state level, there are two areas of environmental emphasis right now.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Spokesman John Mura says an oil and gas work group begins meeting next month.  Topping its agenda will be radioactive material discovered recently in two Kentucky landfills.   He believes that was the genesis of the immediate work that the group is doing.  “I think that its mission will extend past that to all restricted substances,” said Mura.

National Environmental Health Director Comes to EKU

Apr 19, 2016

The director of the National Environmental Health Association believes one day many pollutants from fossil fuel combustion will be greatly reduced.  Dr.

Hundreds Expected for 18th Reforest the Bluegrass

Apr 8, 2016
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

Hundreds of people are expected to help plant trees this weekend for the 18th Reforest the Bluegrass. Lexington Natural Resources Program Manager John Saylor says 7,000 seedlings are ready to be planted near Interstate 75 in the Deep Springs Greenway.  “It flushes chemicals and stuff into our creeks and streams and our waterways and so trees are our little bio-filters, they’re gonna capture a lot of that for us,” said Saylor.

Creative Commons/kyforward.com

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says the spring forest fire hazard season has begun.

A statement says burning laws will be enforced through April 30. During that time period, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of woodland or brush land between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Officials said the law bans burning during times when conditions are most likely to cause a blaze to spread.

Weather Varies During Holidays Across U.S.

Dec 29, 2015

Extreme and in some cases, tragic weather conditions over the holidays are sure to prompt more discussion about climate change.  Sarah Lynn Cunningham, director of the Louisville Climate Action Network, says recent conditions do not fall into a normal climate pattern.  She says any measures to reduce pollutants could carry long term weather impacts.  “Greenhouse gases, once they’re in the atmosphere, are gonna warm the earth for a while, sometimes a long while,” Cunningham said.  “But anything we do now is gonna be making things a whole lot less worse than they’re gonna be if we keep tryin

Unseasonably Warm Winter Likely Beyond Christmas

Dec 22, 2015

The unseasonably warm Christmas week weather may be only a sign of things to come in 2016.  University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Matt Dixon says longer term projections, even into February, call for higher than normal temperatures.  He says that would differ greatly from a year ago.  “Outlooks are pointing toward a warm start to 2016 and that would be almost the direct opposite of what we’ve had the last two years,” Dixon said. “Definitely be a break from those minus 20’s we saw last year.”

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission

bill pre-filed in the General Assembly would declare Kentucky a “sanctuary state” for people and companies who don’t want to follow federal environmental laws that will restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Kevin Goldy / The Daily Independent

A landfill in Eastern Kentucky will shrink after the company, state and citizens’ groups reached an agreement Tuesday.

The Big Run Landfill in Boyd County is Kentucky’s largest landfill, and the final repository of garbage and sewage from many East Coast states. In June, the Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition filed a lawsuit against the company and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, arguing the measures that expanded the landfill a decade ago weren’t constitutional under the Kentucky Constitution.


In the final weeks of Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration, state regulators and legislators haven’t closed the door on the possibility that Kentucky will create its own plan to comply with upcoming federal carbon dioxide regulations.

Len Peters, secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, spoke Tuesday before a special legislative task force made up of lawmakers and industry representatives.

Courtesy of Energy and Environment Cabinet

The Secretary of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet has officially submitted his resignation to Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. Secretary Len Peters’ last day in his position will be Dec. 7, which is also Beshear’s last day in office.

Peters’ resignation isn’t a surprise; as the head of a cabinet, his position is one that is typically appointed by the governor.

Although Governor-elect Matt Bevin, a Republican, hasn’t yet announced who he will choose to lead the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Peters included a farewell letter in the October issue of the cabinet’s magazine (which was published before the election) indicating he was planning on resigning no matter who took office.

Peters has led the cabinet since 2008. He’s a chemical engineer by training, and before working in state government he led the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He’s also held academic and administrative positions at the University of Kentucky and Virginia Tech.


The Environmental Protection Agency’s final draft of the Clean Power Plan includes stricter regulations than originally proposed. 

J. Tyler Franklin / Louisville Public Media

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says he’ll again sue the Environmental Protection Agency over new federal carbon dioxide rules. 


Climate change will begin to have a demonstrative effect on Kentucky’s economy within five years.

They beat the EPA on coal, and now a group of state attorneys general hopes to score a similar victory on farming.


More than a thousand people are expected at the Kentucky Horse Park tomorrow morning for the 17th Reforest the Bluegrass event.  John Saylor, a senior arborist in Lexington, says there will be streamside tree plantings.  "We've had a lot of rain this week, so a lot of standing water, a lot of flooding pooled up in certain spots out there in the placing area.  Basically those trees will absorb that water and you won't have as much runoff going right into the channel," said Saylor.

Firefighters Still Tending to GE Appliance Park Fire

Apr 6, 2015

A reduced crew of firefighters remains on site at the fire that broke out Friday at General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville.


A new analysis of products purchased at dollar stores around the country show that most included significant amounts of at least one hazardous chemical. 


Kentucky’s coal production and employment dropped only slightly in 2014, but sharper declines are likely in the future.


Kentucky communities can apply for grant money to help clean up brownfield sites.

Many Kentucky Homes Remain Untested for Radon

Jan 5, 2015

January is National Radon Action Month. Kentucky is recognized for having high levels of the colorless and odorless gas. Barrett Schoeck is an Environmental Specialist with the Fayette County Health Department.  Schoeck warns that radon levels can change due to home renovations.  "Some homes might test low and say, you put a bathroom or something in your basement, you then could potentially increase your radon levels because you're creating holes in your foundation," said Schoeck.


A central Kentucky organization is expanding its workshop opportunities. Lexington based Greensource this week is launching its GreenForce program.  Volunteer Coordinator Ashley Bryant-Chaney says the first training session is set for this weekend.  "So, we hope to train the people, so that they can go out into the community, whether that be at an outreach event or a school and actually spread information about environmental education and about things like recycling and litter and water quality and energy conservation," said Bryant-Chaney.


The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says the federally protected whooping crane has been showing up in Kentucky and warns hunters the species is off-limits.

Green Summit Looks at Environmental Collaboration

Oct 30, 2014
Stu Johnson / WEKU News

A group of about 60 people gathered Friday in Lexington in an effort to coordinate sustainability measures of many different organizations.  Bobby Clark, coordinator of the first Bluegrass Forever Green Sustainability Summit, says energy saving measures are often doable for individual residents or businesses.  "Use energy star type appliances, change what they are doing because most people predict that energy costs are gonna double over the next ten years.  Can you imagine your electric bill doubling at your home or your business?  It's an economic development issue," said Clark.

Fernando Thomas/Wikimedia Commons

A partnership between the local utility and state and federal government will build Kentucky’s largest solar array at Fort Campbell.

Erica Peterson / Kentucky Public Radio

Despite the fact that the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline has been suspended, the company behind the project is appealing a circuit court decision that found the company doesn’t have the right of eminent domain.

Chemical Spill Shuts Down Portion of I-75 for Five Hours

Jul 15, 2014

A chemical spill following a truck accident off Interstate 75 in Rockcastle County earlier today caused the busy highway to shut down for five hours.

First Cleaner Commonwealth Funds Issued

Jun 24, 2014

The first grants issued through the state's Cleaner Commonwealth Fund include restoration of a historic building in Jackson County.  $49,000 will go for asbestos removal at Lincoln Hall in Annville. 

Stu Johnson / Weku radio


The University of Kentucky will receive a 12 million dollar grant to study hazardous waste sites and the effects of contaminants.  The aim is to lessen the harmful health and environmental effects. UK Superfund Research Center Director Bernie Hennig says part of the answer may lie in good diet and exercise.  "We're trying to study how nutrition, healthful nutrition, increased exercise, increased physical activity can protect against environmental insults, can protect against the contaminants ability to contribute to disease," said Hennig.

Asian Carp Kill Under Investigation

Apr 25, 2014

Scientists are studying the cause of a massive fish kill in western Kentucky, which state wildlife officials are saying is the largest kill of its kind recorded.   

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources reports around 500,000 Asian carp died within a 24-hour period Wednesday on the Cumberland River just below Lake Barkley. KDFWR Fisheries Biologist Paul Rister says soon after discovering the kill fisherman were still catching fish,

“One group of gentlemen had just pulled in their limit of white bass,” Rister said.

Eminent Domain Ruled Inappropriate for Bluegrass Pipeline Project

Mar 26, 2014

A Franklin County judge has ruled that Kentucky law doesn’t allow the use of eminent domain for a natural gas liquids pipeline.  This is the latest blow to the controversial Bluegrass Pipeline project.