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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.