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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After collecting a year's worth of images of what they say are illegal discharges from one of Louisville Gas & Electric's coal ash ponds into the Ohio River, environmental groups say they plan to sue the company.
ANTON, Ky. (AP) — The reward being offered for information in the shooting and death of a mated pair of whooping cranes in western Kentucky has more than doubled with contributions from conservation and animal protection groups.
The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to run the nation's rivers on their way toward disposal. Many environmentalists are concerned, but industry groups say barge transport has its advantages. Critics of the plan say that if there was an accident, it could threaten the drinking water supply of millions of people.
A new study of children’s furniture has found that most contain toxic flame retardant chemicals. These chemicals have been linked to serious health problems. The study was conducted by the non-profit Center for Environmental Health and researchers at Duke University. They analyzed 42 children’s couches and chairs from big box retailers, and found that 90 percent of them contained one or more of the flame retardant chemicals.
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions—like carbon dioxide –from existing power plants next June. But Kentucky regulators are preemptively trying to influence the agency’s decision-making. Read more...
Officials with the Kentucky Division of Water say harmful algal blooms are found at four central Kentucky lakes. The elevated bacteria levels were detected in Madison County’s Lake Reba, Beaver Lake in Anderson County, Shelby County’s Guist Creek Lake, and Willisburg Lake in Washington County. Harmful algal blooms produce toxins which may be hazardous to animals and humans.
Since the end of World War II, Kentucky’s deer herd population has increased 900 percent. Now, they’re a common and costly hazard along the Commonwealth’s highways. Now is the time of year with the biggest risk of collisions.
Climate change is prompting calls from an environmental advocate for better preparation on the local level. Rick Clewett, who spent almost 40 years teaching English at Eastern Kentucky University, now works with the Sierra Club and the Kentucky Conservation Committee. Clewett says climate change will be especially hard on homeless and low-income Kentuckians.
Credit US Forest Service / Flickr, Creative Commons
An ongoing insect infestation is causing both safety and aesthetic concerns at a well known Kentucky state park. The emerald ash borer, which is native to Asia but alien to North America, was first seen in Kentucky just four years ago. Since, then it’s done a lot of damage to trees in 24 counties. State officials are especially worried about its impact on General Butler State Park near Carrollton. Forest Health Specialist Jody Thompson says there’s no quick and easy cure-all.
Credit PEO, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives
Officials say construction on a long-awaited weapons disposal facility at the Blue Grass Army Depot in central Kentucky is about 70 percent complete and it is on track to start operations in 2020. Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board Co-Chair Craig Williams says it took several years for the project to recover from funding cuts in 2004. But, Williams adds construction is tracking on schedule now that allocations have been more consistent.
This truck parked outside of the informational meeting in Frankfort last week.
Credit Erica Peterson / Louisville Public Media
Over the past month, opposition to a proposed natural gas liquids pipeline that would run through Central Kentucky has been growing. Four counties have passed resolutions against the Bluegrass Pipeline, and more than 5,000 people signed a petition asking Governor Steve Beshear to put pipeline legislation on the agenda for this month’s special session (though the governor has said he won’t). And the religious communities of Kentucky’s Holy Land have also joined the fight. Read more...
With the right vegetative buffer between streams and worksite, Jacalyn Carfagno reports nature can keep the Kentucky River clean.
Most Kentuckians accept clean, safe water as a fact of life, as reliable as the sun rising each morning. But water is always on the move, flowing and seeping through many ecosystems. And, each system impacts what finally comes out of the tap.
Land owners and environmentalists are gathering in Frankfort 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.
Pools that surround EKU's new science facility reduce flooding and clean the water that goes into Richmond's storm sewers and, ultimately the Kentucky River.
Credit Eastern Kentucky University
WEKU's Jacalyn Carfagno reports on how building designs can help cleanse the Kentucky River.
Eastern Kentucky University applied science to the planning and construction of its new, state-of-the-art science building. One of the challenges in constructing it was creating a building on a relatively narrow, steep lot, that wouldn’t add to flooding problems at EKU and in Richmond.
Wolf Run Creek drains water from southwest Lexington and channels it into the Kentucky River.
Jacalyn Carfagno reports on restoration efforts along a tributary to the Kentucky River.
Visit almost any city in the Kentucky River watershed after a rain and you’ll find water gushing through culverts, pouring out of storm sewers. The dark froth carries all the debris of modern life swept from lawns, parking lots and streets: fast food wrappers, plastic toys, tires. Less visible but equally present are pesticides and oil, fertilizers and human and animal waste. And it all winds up in the Kentucky River, which provides drinking water for more than 700,000 Kentuckians.
Fifty members of Kentucky's House of Representatives have sent a letter to President Obama to protest what they're calling an "unfair attack on coal." The letter was sent today from House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office, and signed by 49 of his colleagues, including Jefferson County representatives Larry Clark and Tom Burch. It asks Obama to take a step back from the promises he made in his big climate change address in June (where he talked a lot about reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants), and instead think about the effect a decline in coal usage will have on states like Kentucky. Read more...
Louisville attorney Andrew Beshear, son of Governor Steve Beshear.
Credit Stites & Harbison
Governor Steve Beshear's son is representing the company that has proposed building a natural gas liquids pipeline across Kentucky. The Bluegrass Pipeline is a joint venture between two companies--Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and Williams--and if it's built, it'll transport the byproducts of natural gas drilling from the northeast to the Gulf of Mexico. Andrew Beshear is an attorney at law firm Stites & Harbison's Louisville office. As the State Journal in Frankfort reported earlier today, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners is a longtime client of the firm, and Andrew Beshear is working on the company's account. Read more...
Four Kentucky lakes are now affected by harmful algal blooms. The four lakes—Taylorsville, Barren, Rough River and Nolin—make up half of the lakes the Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages in Kentucky. High levels of blue-green algae were first found in Taylorsville Lake last month. This algae is a type of cyanobacteria that produces toxins. It can cause nose and skin irritation, as well as other illnesses in humans and animals. This summer marks the first time the Army Corps of Engineers has tested all the lakes for the algae; it tested Taylorsville Lake last summer. Because of the lack of data, Corps biologist Jade Young said it’s hard to say whether this is a new problem. Read more...