Environmental Watchdog

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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1:24pm

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Meth Lab Threatens Environment

Kentucky State Police Detective Gary Travis wades through the Gasper River on Thursday as he collects meth making supplies that had been dumped there.
Miranda Pederson Bowling Green Daily News

Allen Key watched Thursday morning as drug investigators emerged from a wooded area along Warren County's Gasper River with trash bags full of toxic waste - the remnants of methamphetamine labs. “It’s disturbing,” he said as law enforcement officers from the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force and the Kentucky State Police double-bagged the waste for disposal. Investigators found three garbage bags full of meth waste in the river and discovered another bag on dry land near the road. In all, drug investigators found 30 to 40 pounds of toxic waste, most of it in the river.

11:00am

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA Officials Hear Concerns in Eastern KY

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency are in Kentucky, touring areas in the eastern part of the state and meeting with residents who are concerned about the effect of coal mining on their communities. At a community meeting last night in Whitesburg, the officials listened to residents describe their problems with coal dust, mountaintop removal blasting and the lack of state and local regulation enforcement.

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10:56am

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Paul Denounces EPA for Coal Miners' Week

While officials from the Environmental Protection Agency tour eastern Kentucky to asses the effect of coal mining on residents, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., denounced the agency as an “out of control” bureaucracy that is waging a war the industry.

For most of this week, WFPL Environment Reporter Erica Peterson has been following EPA officials around the state. Contrary to the rhetoric of politicians on both sides of the aisle in Kentucky, she reports residents are thrilled to see federal officials in their communities and want more regulations.  Coincidentally it also happens to be  Coal Miners’ Appreciation Week, which Paul issued a statement Thursday in recognition of while scolding the federal agency.

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10:23am

Fri August 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

East Jessamine Removes E.Coli

A section of the East Jessamine soccer field between the stands and the field was surrounded by orange fence last week after high levels of E. coli were found in standing water.
Jonathan Kleppinger Jessamine Journal

Remediation work is being completed on the soccer field that was closed last week due to E. coli contamination, and the field could be ready for play as soon as Tuesday. A test sample of standing water at the East Jessamine soccer complex off Wilmore Road revealed a concentration of E. coli nine times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk criteria. The field was closed Aug. 10 after an engineering firm advised school officials skin contact with water was the only danger present.

10:50am

Thu August 18, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Among Worst in Coal Ash Handling

A new study faults Kentucky regulators for their lax oversight of coal ash.  There are more than nine million tons of coal ash generated in Kentucky every year. The ash, left over after coal is burned, is stored in ash ponds and dry landfills. The report says the combination of lots of ash and little regulation earns Kentucky the rank of the fifth worst in the United States.

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8:31am

Tue August 16, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

UK to Research Carbon Capture

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday that it’s giving the University of Kentucky a $14 million grant earmarked for coal technology research. Carbon capture and sequestration is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from power plant emissions, then injected deep underground. It’s controversial because it’s very costly and many of the available technologies decrease power plants’ efficiency.

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11:00am

Sun August 14, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Damaging Storms in Central KY

An uprooted tree in the front yard at 487 Hart Road fell over the driveway and onto the neighboring property. Despite dozens of downed trees, no injuries were reported to police.
Matt Goines Lexington Herald-Leader

A brief but powerful storm packing high winds knocked out power to nearly 20,000 customers in Fayette County on Saturday evening. Winds up to 70 mph knocked out power to 125,000 customers in Louisville, which appeared to be the hardest-hit area.

10:37am

Fri August 12, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Ft. Knox Commended for Energy Program

Secretary of the U.S. Army John McHugh on Thursday said Fort Knox’s energy advancement policies are “light years” ahead of many installations in the country, and the “lessons learned” from Fort Knox’s pioneering example could and should be explored throughout the rest of the Army. McHugh, the Army’s top civilian, visited the post to review its energy program and said the military is taking a serious look at curbing energy consumption to save taxpayer money and prove good environmental stewards.

1:04pm

Thu August 11, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Poll Shows Views on Mountaintop Removal

A poll conducted by CNN of more than 1,000 adult Americans found that 57 percent of them are opposed to the controversial practice of mountaintop removal mining.  The cable news network conducted the survey in advance of the premiere of “Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America,” a documentary produced by Soledad O’Brien. The piece looks at Blair Mountain in West Virginia, a mountain that played a large role in the unionization of the coalfields in the early 1900s. Mining companies hold permits on the mountains, and could choose to surface mine, which activists could ruin the environment and bury historical artifacts forever.

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9:42am

Wed August 10, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Central Ky. Cities to Improve Hydropower

Several Kentucky cities and utility companies have signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to modernize and rehabilitate hydropower plants along the Cumberland River.  Project manager Jay Sadler says the agreement implemented Tuesday allows the municipalities to maintain service by helping pay for the much-needed improvements.

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9:35am

Wed August 10, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Farmers Rebound After Wet Spring

With a little cooperation from Mother Nature, Hopkins County farmers could harvest corn and soybean crops that exceed early projections when soggy conditions disrupted spring planting. A lot depends on temperatures and rainfall this month, said George Kelley, Hopkins County agricultural extension agent. “The next three to four weeks are critical,” he said.

1:27pm

Tue August 9, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Data Suggests Coal Use is Declining

According to the federal government, the United States’ reliance on coal for electricity is decreasing. The percentage of America’s power generated by coal fell to a 30-year low at the beginning of this year.  A report from the Energy Information Administration found that coal’s role in the country’s power mix is declining. Coal generated 46 percent of the nation’s energy during the first three months of 2011—a full three percentage points lower than the same period last year.

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9:09am

Tue August 9, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Battle Against a Rattlesnake

The snake was discovered in the yard of Lisa Mullen of West Point when her son was leaving for work.
The News-Enterprise

Adam Hendley stood still Wednesday with his car door open listening to a rustling through the grass two feet away from him. He was sure it was a snake. Then, he caught sight of the tell-tale rattler on the end of the slithering animal’s body. “I was kind of shocked, really,” he said. “I was a little concerned.”

5:40pm

Mon August 8, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

'LEED' Certification at UK

‘Energy conservation’ is a primary feature in the University of Kentucky’s Davis Marksbury building.  The structure, part of UK’s College of Engineering, is the first building on the Lexington campus to receive a LEED (LEAD) certification.  LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environment Design is considered the standard rating system for the most energy efficient buildings.

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8:02am

Mon August 8, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Fancy Farm Speakers Support Coal

Much of the speaking at this weekend’s Fancy Farm picnic trended towards national issues. Candidates praised the military, worried about public debt and criticized what is—or isn’t—getting done in Washington. But coal and federal environmental regulations were also a target in several speeches.

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1:38pm

Fri August 5, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Northern KY to Improve Water Plant

The Kentucky Public Service Commission Friday approved plans by the Northern Kentucky Water District for a $28.35 million project that will enable its Taylor Mill treatment plant to comply with stricter federal drinking water standards.

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9:38am

Fri August 5, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Controversial Technology Encouraged

The Environmental Protection Agency says injecting carbon dioxide underground doesn’t pose substantial environmental or health risks. The agency is proposing a rule to classify carbon dioxide as a non-hazardous waste and encourage a controversial coal technology. Carbon capture and sequestration—or CCS—is a process where carbon dioxide is removed from the emissions of coal-fired power plants and injected deep underground. It’s not widely used because it’s not yet economical.

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9:34am

Fri August 5, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

EPA Denies Pollution Petition

The federal government has denied a petition that would set pollution limits for states in the Mississippi River Basin. The decision was criticized by environmental groups today. Pollution released from wastewater treatment plants and farm runoff eventually travel from Kentucky to the Mississippi River and are contributing to a growing ‘dead zone’ in the Gulf of Mexico. A dead zone is a spot where pollution has sucked out all the oxygen and there’s no aquatic life.

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11:10am

Thu August 4, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Berea Plans Small-Scale Solar Farm

Customers of Berea Municipal Utilities will soon have the option to invest in a small solar farm.  The Berea Solar Farm won't be a moneymaker for investors. A 25-year lease for one panel will cost about $700. The average residential customer uses an average of 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, and a single panel would provide about one-twentieth of that energy.

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11:05am

Thu August 4, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

KY Sandhill Crane Controversy

Kentucky Public Radio

Sandhill cranes are large, red-capped migratory birds that haven't been hunted in Kentucky for almost a century. But as Alan Lytle reports, that could change in just a few months if a proposal to establish a sandhill crane hunting season is approved by a legislative subcommittee.

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6:50am

Thu August 4, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Berea Plans Solar Farm

Customers of Berea Municipal Utilities will soon have the option to invest in a small solar farm. The Berea Solar Farm won’t be a moneymaker for investors. A 25-year lease for one panel will cost about $700. The average residential customer uses an average of 600 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, and a single panel would provide about one-twentieth of that energy.

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12:00pm

Wed August 3, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Heat Advisory/Severe Thunderstorm Watch

The National Weather Service office in Louisville has issued a heat advisory for Wednesday afternoon for an area of south central Kentucky. The heat index could hit 105 degrees, the weather service said.

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11:57am

Wed August 3, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Purdue Studies Steel Fatigue

The eventual destruction of the 81-year-old Milton-Madison Bridge over the Ohio River, scheduled for next year, has presented a rare opportunity for researchers at Purdue University. Robert Conner, an associate professor of civil engineering at Purdue and a national expert in the study of steel fatigue, is hoping to use the bridge to compile research that will help transportation officials throughout the United States better inspect and diagnose “fracture critical” truss bridges.

10:31am

Wed August 3, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

New Home for Bobwhite Quail

Louisville Public Media

Bernheim Forest staff released bobwhite quail chicks today for the third consecutive year in an effort to reintroduce them to the forest.  Fifty six-week old bobwhite quails waited in a crate, surrounded by a crowd of curious children and adults. The doors were opened, but the chicks needed some coaxing. Finally, they took their first flight.

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4:26pm

Tue August 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Beshear asked to Preserve Sandhill Cranes

Kentuckians who don’t want to see the state adopt a new sandhill crane hunting season have asked the governor to abandon the effort.  Ben Yandell, who’s with the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, is not convinced there’s much support, even among hunters.

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2:41pm

Tue August 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Utility Fined for Coal Ash Contamination

Louisville Metro Government has fined Louisville Gas & Electric for letting coal ash leave the Cane Run Power Station and contaminate nearby homes. Two weeks ago, LG&E released test results that found ash on three area homes. Now, the city has fined the company $4,000 for violating the district’s fugitive dust rule.

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