Environmental Watchdog

10:42am

Wed October 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Endangered Mussels Released

State and federal biologists have released more than 100 endangered mussels into the Green River by Mammoth Cave National Park.  The pink mucket mussel is a federally endangered species. The mussels used to be abundant in the Green River, but pollution and human interference with the water’s flow decimated the population. Now, scientists hope they can reestablish the population.

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8:45am

Wed October 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Student Protesters Push for Greener UK

Student protesters are lobbying University of Kentucky officials to improving or shuttering the school's two coal boilers. The activists see opportunity in the new administration's push to upgrade campus facilities. 

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1:09pm

Tue October 25, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Grant goes to Kentucky for Runoff Pollution Prevention

FRANKFORT - The state announced on Tuesday the awarding of $2.9 million in a federal grant to 11 communities and organizations around Kentucky for the development of watershed management plans and implementation of nonpoint source pollution controls. “Protection of our water resources is fundamental to our environment, our economy and good public health,” Gov. Beshear said. “These grants will fund efforts to help control pollution from sediment, pesticides and other substances that run off our land when it rains.”

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7:00pm

Sun October 23, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

New Algae Production Project Unveiled

The first phase of a project using algae to convert carbon dioxide into fuel will begin at Dale Power Station next week, East Kentucky Power Cooperative and state leaders announced Friday in Lexington. East Kentucky Power Cooperative will work with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, allowing the center to demonstrate the new technology at its plant. The module uses algae to capture the carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants, before converting it into fuel.

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10:46am

Fri October 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Bioneers Conference Wants to Fix Environment Problems

For the third year in a row, policy-makers, academics and activists will gather for the Bluegrass Bioneers conference at the University of Louisville.  The conference is a satellite extension of the national Bioneers conference in California. While the main event is more than 2,300 miles away, organizers in Louisville have designed the Bluegrass version of the Bioneers conference to address local environmental problems.

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3:44pm

Tue October 18, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Paul Lifts Opposition to Pipeline Safety Bill

A bill to update the nation’s pipeline safety standards after a fatal explosion in California has passed the U.S. Senate, despite long-term opposition by Kentucky senator Rand Paul. Paul had been single-handledly blocking the legislation for weeks. The bill would put new safety and environmental measures in place to regulate natural gas pipelines. The measure was introduced after a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California killed eight people last year.

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6:59am

Tue October 18, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Feds Predict Coal-Generated Electricity Decline

The federal government is predicting that the country’s appetite for coal will have decreased further by the end of the year. The Energy Information Administration expects coal will generate nearly 2 percent less of the nation’s electricity than it did last year, and the amount of electricity generated from coal could decline an additional four percent in 2012. This is mostly due to a small increase in natural gas-generated electricity, and a large increase in hydroelectric power.

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4:26pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

House Passed Bill Lets States Regulate Coal Ash

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash—a byproduct of burning coal for electricity. The bill gives control of coal ash disposal to the states, which are required to regulate it as least as stringently as municipal waste.

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4:24pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Coal Mine Listed as "Unsafe"

A Kentucky coal mine has been flagged as unsafe by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. The Letcher County mine is the fourth recently placed on a ‘potential pattern of violations’ status. The mine is Dennis Creg Yonts’ Number Two Mine in Dean, operated by Vision Coal. Kevin Stricklin of MSHA says the notice amounts to a warning, of sorts.

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8:22am

Fri October 14, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

House to Vote on Coal Ash Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill tomorrow that will block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash. The bill has support among House Republicans, but environmental groups are lobbying against it.The bill is sponsored by West Virginia Representative David McKinley. It would let individual states regulate the disposal of coal ash, which is a byproduct of burning coal for electricity. Under the bill, the states would have to regulate the ash at least as stringently as they regulate municipal waste.

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1:09pm

Wed October 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Harrodsburg Declares State of Emergency

Things have gotten bad enough at Harrodsburg's wastewater treatment plant that city commissioners declared a state of emergency Monday so it can make repairs quickly without going through the normal bidding process. The plant is still operating effectively but is in danger of coming out of compliance with state regulations for treating wastewater, which could result in fines, Mayor Eddie Long said.

11:43am

Wed October 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Sugar Beets Could Lead to Biofuel Jobs

Patriot BioEnergy partner Roger Ford speaks to local leaders about the possibility of a facility in Whitley County that would turn bioengineered sugar beets into fuel.

Sugar beets could very easily be putting people to work in Whitley County in the not too distant future if Roger Ford has his way, but these aren't the beets that your grandpa grew in his garden. Ford, a partner with Patriot BioEnergy LLC, wants to grow industrial beets that will be turned into fuel.

8:56am

Wed October 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

KY Joins Effort to Delay Air Pollution Rules

Kentucky and Indiana are among twenty-five states seeking a delay in federal regulations to reduce mercury and other toxic air pollution. The deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency to set standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution is November 16. But twenty-five states have filed a brief in the case asking a judge to push that back another year. As it’s proposed, the rule gives utilities three years to comply. Allison Martin in the Kentucky Attorney General’s office says the commonwealth joined the filing because it will need more time to comply.

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9:49am

Tue October 11, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Company Blamed for Flood Death

Improper surface-mining practices caused or worsened flooding that killed a man and destroyed or damaged numerous homes in Knox County in June, more than 70 people affected by the disaster have claimed in a lawsuit. Jack Spadaro, a former federal mining official who is a consultant on the lawsuit, said it was the first claim in Kentucky he is aware of that alleges flooding caused by surface mining directly caused a death.

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8:21am

Mon October 10, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Carbon Catching Technology Slow to Catch on in the U.S.

Carbon capture and sequestration projects are picking up around the world, according to a new report, even as some in the United States have recently been shuttered. According to the Global Institute for Carbon Capture and Sequestration, the technology’s future is bright. CCS, as it’s known, is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from emissions before it gets to the atmosphere, then is injected deep underground.

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7:26am

Fri October 7, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Inbreeding Remarks Sparks Ethics Complaint

A North Carolina law professor has filed an ethics complaint against the Washington, D.C. law firm that insinuated inbreeding was responsible for birth defects in Appalachia. The law firm made the comments while trying to refute a study connecting mountaintop removal to birth defect rates. Law firm Crowell and Moring raised several issues with the study’s methodology, including that the authors failed to account for consanguinity—or inbreeding—which can also cause birth defects.

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7:20am

Fri October 7, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Judge's Ruling Favors Coal Industry

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the coal industry in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.The National Mining Association sued the agency, questioning its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to review permits for mountaintop removal mines.

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7:22am

Tue October 4, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

W.Va. Settlement May Affect Kentucky

Environmental groups in West Virginia have reached a settlement with a coal company over water pollution near mine sites. The decision could affect a similar case in Kentucky. Earlier this year, local environmental groups and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit against St. Louis-based Arch Coal over selenium pollution at six West Virginia mines.

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10:31am

Fri September 30, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA Responds to Beshear's Letter

This morning, the Environmental Protection Agency responded to an email asking for comments on a letter Governor Steve Beshear sent to President Barack Obama earlier this week.  In an interview, Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters expressed frustration with the EPA’s requirements for permits. He says Kentucky worked with the regional EPA on a template for future permits and came to an agreement, but the deal was rejected by the EPA headquarters.

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10:26am

Fri September 30, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Litter Campaign Sees Reduction in Cigarette Butts

Organizers of a cigarette litter task force say a summer campaign targeting downtown Lexington and two major hospitals significantly reduced the number of cigarette butts on the ground.  The task force was the first major project of the Keep Lexington Beautiful Commission. Commission member Jane Eller says the project involved a public education effort and installing more cigarette receptacles outside building entrances.

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1:12pm

Wed September 28, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Examining Reasons Behind Appalachian Coal Decline

The Associated Press had a story out yesterday about declining Appalachian coal reserves, and whether those are more to blame for cuts in the coal industry than federal regulations. The story starts with Jerry Howard, an eastern Kentucky mine owner who closed his mine two years ago.

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10:09am

Wed September 28, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Protections Slow for Endangered Plants, Animals

Dozens of rare animals and plants in Kentucky will be considered for protection as endangered species under federal law, though the process for many won't start for years. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it would study whether 374 species in 12 southeastern states should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. That list included 36 species in Kentucky, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the petition that led to the review.

1:16pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Bear Spotted in Williamsburg

If you want to see a bear, you don't have to go to a zoo. Chances are a trip to Williamsburg might just suffice. Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that there have been numerous bear sightings in the city over the last three months, and authorities don't think it is the same animal being spotted multiple times.

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4:26pm

Mon September 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA Calls For Cooperation

Environmental Protection Agency region four administrator Gwen Fleming says, despite tense negotiations in the past, cooperation between her agency and state government on issues such as surface mining and emission standards is still possible. 

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10:24am

Mon September 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Switch to Natural Gas May Not Slow Climate Change

As federal policies make burning coal more expensive, many utilities—including Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities—are transitioning their older coal plants to natural gas. But a new study cautions that natural gas may not be a panacea to stop the effects of climate change.

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11:45am

Fri September 23, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

PRIDE Celebrates 10th Anniversary

This month a central Kentucky organization celebrates its 10th anniversary. The group is Bluegrass PRIDE, which stands for Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment. Kentucky Public Radio’s Brenna Angel spoke with Amy Sohner, Executive Director of Bluegrass PRIDE about some of the work the accomplished over the past ten years.

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10:26am

Fri September 23, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Beshear Lobbied Less Coal Regulation During President's Visit

While asking for emergency funds to repair the Sherman Minton Bridge, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear told President Obama the state’s economy needs less federal regulation of the coal industry. The governor met with Mr. Obama before his speech in Cincinnati on Thursday, where the president rallied support for the $447 billion American Jobs Act.

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6:58am

Fri September 23, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal to Gas Part of National Trend

Last week, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities announced a plan to retire three coal-fired power plants over the next four years. The plants will be replaced by facilities that burn natural gas—which is cleaner than coal. The utilities are part of a growing trend across the nation to retire older coal plants. To most people, a gas turbine doesn’t sound any different than a jet engine, or than the sounds you’d expect to hear in a coal-fired power plant. But in terms of what this sound means for the region’s energy mix, it’s a big deal.

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4:48pm

Thu September 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Vote Expected Friday to Delay Air Regulations

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill tomorrow that would change the way the Clean Air Act is administered. The bill is called TRAIN for short—the long name is the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011. TRAIN began as a bill to require analysis of the cumulative effect of upcoming environmental regulations, but various amendments, including one by Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, have changed it into a bill that would delay air pollution regulations, some for years, some indefinitely.

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1:27pm

Thu September 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Abandoned Mine Funds Build Perry County Water Project

Fifty-two more homes in Perry County, Kentucky will be hooked into city water systems soon, after a state agency determined their drinking water was affected by mining activity more than thirty years ago. The state’s Abandoned Mine Lands funds go to abate hazards created by mining before the federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act went into effect. Steve Hohmann is the head of the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.

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