Environmental Watchdog

1:55pm

Mon September 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Preview of Lexington Sewer Repair Plan

Lexington residents can see details of a sanitary sewer proposal that will soon be sent to the EPA at public meetings hosted by the city's Division of Water Quality.  A remedial measures plan to fix sewer overflows is due to the federal agency next month. Water Quality director Charlie Martin says future repairs will affect many parts of Lexington. "This is really kind of a briefing for interested parties to see how this may impact my neighborhood or where I live. As far as in the next 11 to 13 years am I likely to see a sewer line that's behind my house or in front of my house, is it going to be replaced or not?"

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10:19am

Mon September 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Adopt-A-Highway Ready to 'Fall-Sweep'

Volunteers will be out in force next week to “fall sweep” Kentucky highways. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) announced today that Sept. 18-24 is Adopt-a-Highway Fall Sweep Week.  “The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet appreciates the efforts of our Adopt-a-Highway volunteers, who help keep our highways and communities beautiful and litter-free,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said.

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10:29am

Sun September 11, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Assists in Bridge Evaluation

The state of Indiana has temporarily closed the Sherman Minton bridge after their bridge inspection engineers discovered a crack in a load-bearing element during routine inspection and maintenance.  “Because the safety of the thousands of people who use the I-64 bridge is of utmost concern, Gov. Daniels notified me of his decision to temporarily shut down the Sherman Minton until the structure can be inspected more fully,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a press release Friday afternoon.

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10:07am

Sun September 11, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Neighbors Dislike Solar Panels

Becky Bush in a staircase of her new home on Wiedemann Hill, Newport, with a view of the large solar panel her neighbor has installed on his property behind her.
Patrick Reddy Kentucky Enquirer

When Becky Bush looks out the windows of the living room in the new home where she and husband Perry plan to retire, the dominant view is of her neighbor's solar panels. If someone didn't know better, they would think the panels were in her backyard, rather than her neighbor's. But because of the properties' irregular configuration, the land belongs to the neighbor. The group of panels - totaling about 10 feet by 16 feet, and approximately 30 feet behind the Bush house - is ugly and spoils their scenic view, Becky Bush says.

10:53am

Fri September 9, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

KY Proposes Settlement Over Water Pollution

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is proposing a settlement with a coal company over thousands of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky. The deal will set a new record for pollution penalties in Kentucky, but environmental groups say it still falls short.

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7:54am

Fri September 9, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Settlement in Water Pollution Case

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection is proposing a settlement with a coal company over thousands of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky. The deal will set a new record for pollution penalties in Kentucky, but environmental groups say it still falls short. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet filed a consent agreement earlier this week with Bardstown-based coal company Nally and Hamilton to address numerous violations of the Clean Water Act. They’re proposing the violations be settled for $507,000.

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10:45am

Wed September 7, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Hard Times for Tobacco Farmers

Jason Martinez helped James Osbourne top tobacco Thursday on a Mackville Road farm. Osbourne has 12 acres in the patch.
Jesse Osbourne Springfield Sun

Tobacco farmers in Washington County who have been around a while may recognize the quality of tobacco this year’s crop is producing. Memories from the drought of 1983 stir like the dust that blows in the hot, dry summer wind. “This is the worst tobacco crop I’ve ever had,” James Osbourne, who has been raising tobacco for 20 years, said. “My dad thinks the tobacco is as bad as that (1983).” An ill-timed mixture of extreme wet conditions and extreme heat have concocted a bitter tasting result for farmers.

10:22am

Wed September 7, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Minor Flooding in Harlin Co.

Cumberland Avenue in downtown Cumberland was blocked off to traffic on Tuesday when drains overflowed covering the roadway.
Nola Sizemore Harlan Daily Enterprise

With the Tri-Cities area of Harlan County receiving 7.03 inches of rain within a 48-hour period, flooding occurred in low-lying areas in Blair. Jackson-based National Weather Service Forecaster Pete Geogerian said most other areas of Harlan County received from 5.26 to 5.77 inches of rain over the Labor Day weekend.

3:46pm

Tue September 6, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Recession Changing Attitudes in Appalachia

New research on residents of two counties in southeastern Kentucky show the area’s attitude about the environment has changed since the recession. Researchers with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire surveyed residents in Harlan and Letcher counties in 2007, then returned this year to see whether and how beliefs have changed.

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12:32pm

Tue September 6, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Garden Guru Plants Seeds of Influence

Sharon Bale is the epitome of a woman for all seasons, and while she’ll tell you she retired this spring, that’s hardly the case. For 36 years she has apologized for the dirt under her fingernails, but that’s the nature of the beast as a horticultural extension specialist in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky. She has driven back and forth from her home in Country Lane Estates in Frankfort to Lexington sometimes six days a week to dig.

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11:39am

Tue September 6, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Surcharges Confound Energy Cost Cutters

The three coal-fired units along Herrington Lake opened in 1957. KU plans to spend $402 million to comply with new regulations.
Kentucky Utilities

There's no doubt that Kentucky's electricity bills are on the rise, as utilities sort out how much it will cost them to comply with new federal environmental regulations. Kentucky Utilities, the largest electricity provider in Central Kentucky, has asked the state Public Service Commission for permission to increase the average customer's monthly bill more than 12 percent by 2016. But this case is far different than those that are familiar to most people. It's not about base rates, which look at the price for a kilowatt hour of electricity. It's about the environmental surcharge you find on your bills.

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11:15am

Tue September 6, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Making Fuel with Sunlight and Water

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have discovered an alloy that could possibly split water into hydrogen and oxygen using solar energy. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and supercomputer technology, Professors Madhu Menon and Michael Sheetz found that the alloy is a mixture of gallium nitride and a small amount of antimony. Menon says he thinks the technology could someday be accessible to everyone and available on the open market.

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5:04pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Obama Withdraws Stronger Ozone Standards

As Louisville suffers a string of bad air quality days due to high ozone levels, the Obama Administration has announced that it’s withdrawing a proposal to strengthen the nation’s ozone standard. President Barack Obama has asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw a draft proposal that would tighten the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The proposal would have placed stricter regulations on polluters and required major environmental upgrades for most industries to comply with the Clean Air Act.

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4:13pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Climate Change, Higher Ozone Levels Linked

Louisville is mired in a string of unhealthy air days, and the ozone levels expected today and tomorrow will be the highest the city has seen so far this year. A study recently released suggests links between climate change and increased ozone exposure. Ozone happens when pollution from exhaust and industries combine and chemically react in the presence of heat and sunlight. So, as average temperatures in some regions rise, we could see more bad air days.

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4:05pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

School Cuts Energy Use by Half

Josh James Kentucky Public Radio

An area elementary school is being honored for its efforts to go green. Rosa Park Elementary was rewarded with a visit from Mayor Jim Gray and Congressman Ben Chandler. When students and staff at Rosa Parks Elementary decided to make their school greener, they set what they thought was a realistic goal - a ten percent reduction in overall energy use, saving the school around 15 to 20 thousand dollars. But a year later Principal Leslie Thomas took a look at the numbers. 

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4:02pm

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Lincoln Trail Open this Weekend

Lincoln Trail and Trailhead will be open during the Labor Day weekend. “The (trail) construction is close to being finished,” Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Pat Reed said in a news release. “There are still some piles of gravel at the trailhead, but our crew has cleared the way for folks to be able to use the area over the holiday weekend. “We will go back in after the weekend to put on the finishing touches.”

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7:38am

Fri September 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Louisville Ties Bad Air Reading

There’s an Air Quality Alert in effect for today and another one for tomorrow. So far, 18 alerts have been called this year; that’s the same number declared last year. Air pollution causes irritation in the lungs, and the immune system reacts to it. But when someone has breathing problems and is exposed to natural allergens in the air AND pollution, the effects are intensified. Dr. Gerald Lee is a professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Louisville. He’s done research on the effect of diesel exhaust particles and dust mites on asthmatic mice.

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4:50pm

Thu September 1, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Can Proceed With Sandhill Crane Hunt

Kentucky has received approval from the federal government to again allow the hunting of Sandhill cranes. That means the state can go forward with its plan to hold the first authorized hunt of the large migratory birds in about 100 years. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says the approval this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency means officials could open a 30-day hunt as early as Dec. 17.

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3:41pm

Tue August 30, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Mine Rule Targets Mechanical Injuries

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is publishing a proposed rule tomorrow that could require all mine operators to eventually install safety devices on certain types of mining equipment. MSHA’s proposed rule would phase in a requirement that mine operators use proximity warning devices on their continuous miners—the large machines that scoop coal from the face of the mine. Proximity warning devices are safety features that automatically shut off the machine when miners are too close, and they’re meant to protect coal miners from being crushed by machinery while underground.

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11:18am

Tue August 30, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA to Discuss Floyds Fork Pollution Managment

The Environmental Protection Agency is holds a meeting today to let the public weigh in on a proposal to manage pollution in Floyds Fork, a tributary of the Salt River that runs through Jefferson and four other counties. The EPA is getting involved in what’s usually a state process because of the watershed’s size and complexity.

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1:56pm

Mon August 29, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Hogs Gone Wild in Lewis County

This image of a wild pig was caught on a trail camera owned by Lewis County resident Andrew Sauley in the Concord area.

A few scattered reports of wild pigs in Lewis County have filtered in to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Officer Cory Ellis since September, he said. However, Ellis said it was only recently that hard proof of the existence of the pigs showed up in the form of photographs taken by Tollesboro resident Andrew Sauley.

10:28am

Mon August 29, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Two Western Kentucky Streams 'Impaired'

The Kentucky Division of Water has released reports detailing the levels of pollution in two western Kentucky streams. Division of Water spokeswoman Allison Fleck says Clarks River and Cypress Creek are contaminated, but the division isn’t sure exactly where the E. coli is coming from.

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4:14pm

Fri August 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Septic Systems on the Way Out

The last of the septic systems inside the city Lexington will almost certainly become history someday.  First though, city officials must find the necessary funds.

Septic tanks were once commonplace in Lexington.  The concrete containers, which were normally buried, use a system of pipes to safely distribute waste water underneath a backyard.  But, Division of Engineering section manager Bob Bayert says the central Kentucky topography sometimes works against the process.

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8:35am

Thu August 25, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Energy Subsidies Targeted for Cuts

When the Congressional super-committee sits down to cut the nation’s spending, everything is fair game. But a new report released by four non-profit groups suggests the panel look first to cutting energy subsidies. The report is called Green Scissors, and it was released today by groups that promote free market capitalism, consumer protections, the environment, or fiscal responsibility. It highlights the $380 billion in spending that goes to subsidize oil, gas and coal, as well as tax breaks and government loans.

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4:20pm

Wed August 24, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Feds Cite Three Kentucky Mines

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration has cited three Kentucky mines for safety violations—two of the mines are in Harlan County and one is in Pike County. Those mines are among 15 nationwide with a history of compliance problems that were targeted in MSHA’s July impact inspections.

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4:15pm

Wed August 24, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

First Earthquake, Next Hurricane Irene

With relatively minor damage and no loss of life as a result of Tuesday's earthquake, Governor McDonnell will be putting that natural disaster on the back burner … as he focuses on the upcoming hurricane expected to hit the Commonwealth over the weekend.  

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10:21am

Wed August 24, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

East Coast Earthquake Felt in Kentucky

Kentuckians should not be excessively concerned about two earthquakes Tuesday on opposite ends of the country — Colorado and Virginia — triggering a similar temblor here, one of the state's leading earthquake experts said Tuesday. Tuesday's earthquake, which reportedly had a preliminary magnitude of 5.8, was centered in Northern Virginia, but it was felt in Boston, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and as far north as Toronto. The earthquake was felt as far west as Paintsville, Pikeville and Frankfort.

3:04pm

Mon August 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Encourages Sustainable Horse Industry

Kentucky’s horse racing industry could benefit from a new sustainability program. A state initiative will help racetracks comply with environmental regulations and reduce their footprint. Horse racing is important to Kentucky’s economy, but huge events like the Derby take their toll on the environment—from the trash produced to animal waste and electricity usage.

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10:31am

Mon August 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA Wraps Up Eastern KY Tour

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency were in eastern Kentucky last week to meet with residents of four communities affected by coal mining. But as those residents shared their stories and concerns, the coal industry criticized the trip as one-sided and anti-coal.

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4:32pm

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Lyric in the'Green'Light

Lexington's Lyric Theater also carries a LEED certification
Stu Johnson Weku

A cultural center that celebrates Lexington’s Black community now also sets a standard for energy efficiency

The Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center is the first city owned building to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold Certification.   LEED certified buildings are designed to reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and improve indoor air quality.  For example, architect Susan Hill says the theater will benefit from solar power generated by the Fayette County School System

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