Environmental Watchdog

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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10:38am

Tue August 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Hot, Dry Conditions Continue to Stress Crops

Very hot and dry conditions continues to stress crops and livestock, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Louisville field office reported Monday. While much of the corn, soybean and other crops remain in good or excellent condition, a growing portion is declining into fair or poor condition, it said.

9:36am

Sun July 31, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Engineers Present Options to Fix Dam

Officials in Butler, Ohio and Muhlenberg counties are left wondering what their next move is now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has presented three proposals for fixing the Green River Dam at Rochester. The corps did take a look at what it would take to stabilize the dam and earlier this month presented three solutions, the first costing $799,000 for a temporary fix with rocks and mortar in front of the dam gates that are leaking. That fix could last 25 to 50 years.

10:07am

Thu July 28, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Heat Affecting High School Activities

This week's steamy weather is making outside activity tough, whether you're doing construction work or practicing to march in a high school band. Lexington's five public high schools are starting their band camps this week, and band directors say they're taking precautions to keep students safe as heat indices climb above 100.

8:54am

Thu July 28, 2011
Opinion

Green and Blue, But Not Bright

Fluorescent light bulbs are set to be banned in favor of more energy efficient CFL lights. However, in July alone, there have been three light-related votes.
iStockphoto.com

Joseph Bottum is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and the author of The Second Spring: Words into Music, Music into Words.

In the beginning, there was a glade. A green and foresty place, a meadowy clearing in the great big woods. The robins called from branch to branch. A laughing stream wove gently through the dell. A rabbit hopped through the long grass, bright with morning dew. All was well, and all manner of things were well — until, one day, the evil came.

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6:00am

Wed July 27, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Ash: Government's Response

Kathy Little and Debbie Walker stand in Walker’s front yard, 50 feet from the ash landfill at Louisville Gas & Electric‘s Cane Run plant. They watch as heavy machinery backs up, pushing ash from one pile to another.Both women have lived in the neighborhood for decades—Little for 33 years, Walker for 23. Walker says she used to be able to see Indiana from her window. Now, she just sees the mountains of coal ash.

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10:30am

Tue July 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

7 Counties Declared Disaster Areas

President Barack Obama has declared seven Eastern Kentucky counties a disaster area as a result of severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from June 19-23. The state government and local governments — as well as some non-profit organizations — in Bell, Breathitt, Knott, Knox, Lee, Magoffin and Perry counties will be eligible for federal aid to help pay for emergency work and repairing facilities damaged by the severe weather.

6:00am

Tue July 26, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Ash: Electric Utilities React

Louisville Public Media

“Okay, here’s our ash pond!” Steve Turner exclaims. He’s the general manager at Louisville Gas & Electric’s Cane Run Power Station, and he is giving Kathy Little and her husband Tony a tour of the plant. “You can see bottom ash, but it’s down at the water level, so it stays wetted.”  Cane Run is one of the two coal-fired power plants within the Louisville city limits, and both store byproducts, like coal ash, on site. LG&E has invited three nearby families to the plant to discuss the results of recent dust sampling. The Little family, as well as the Walkers and the Cunninghams, were invited because samples taken off their homes showed high concentrations of coal ash. LG&E is doing damage control.

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3:19pm

Mon July 25, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Recycling in the Park

New recycling-waste container at Waverly Park in Lexington
Stu Johnson Weku

New recycling containers now enhance the landscape of Lexington parks.  59 containers with one section for waste and another section for recyclables are being situated in parks.   Bill Clarke, who's with Parks and Recreation says the container handles various recyclables. “Primarily aluminum cans and plastic bottles, cardboard, paper.  We don’t like to get items that have been soiled or contaminated with food,” said Clarke.

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9:52am

Mon July 25, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Calls New EPA Rules ‘Overreaching’

After two years, the federal government has released new guidelines for surface coal mines. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would increase scrutiny on a number of mountaintop removal permits in Appalachia and  would release guidelines for future permits.Those guidelines were released last week. Mine operators will now find it much harder to get permits for valley fills—where valleys and streams are filled with debris from mining.

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6:00am

Mon July 25, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Coal Ash: The Health Threat

Louisville Public Media

You can’t see the smokestacks of the Cane Run Power Station from Stephanie Hogan’s home, even though she lives a block away. And while the power plant isn’t visible, it’s still a looming presence in Hogan’s life. “Oh, he breathes so bad, he sounds like Darth Vader.” Hogan shakes her head, and Cody wheezes. “You ain’t even been running.”

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1:49pm

Fri July 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

KY in Top 20 'Most Toxic' States

Kentucky is among the states with the worst air quality, according to a report released this week.  The report was commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, but used data self-reported by industries and publicly available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Kentucky ranked fourth in the list of the 20 ‘most toxic’ states.

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10:00am

Fri July 22, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Dangerous Heat in Forecast

Besides dealing with a high heat index, Jason Caldwell Jr. and Kyla Gerkey handled a "thermo cart" that produced 450-degree heat to install traffic stripes Thursday on Midland Avenue. It takes the high temperature for the plastic to bond to the blacktop.
Charles Bertram Lexington Herald-Leader

It's so hot, air conditioners are melting. Or, more accurately, they are being overtaxed by the heat and humidity that has engulfed much of the nation and caused the National Weather Service in Louisville to issue an excessive heat warning for Kentucky. The warning is in effect until Saturday.

4:47pm

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Kentucky Finishes 4th in Dirty Air

A newly released report says Kentucky has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. You can’t see the particles emitted from coal burning power plants, but they’re thick in Kentucky’s air. That’s according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council.  The NRDC says Kentucky has the fourth dirtiest air in the nation. The group analyzed data gathered by the Environmental Protection Agency and ranked states accordingly. John Walke works on clean air policy for the environmental group.

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3:21pm

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Algae on the Go

Growing Algae Based Oil in the Lab
Stu Johnson Weku

The algae which once blanketed the prehistoric earth could help power Kentucky’s cars.  Within ten years, plant and soil sciences professor Joe Chappell says algae under study at the University of Kentucky could provide a high value oil.

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3:16pm

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Bloomberg Funds “Beyond Coal” Campaign

This morning, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million grant to the Sierra Club, to be doled out over four years. The Sierra Club says they’ll use the money for their “Beyond Coal”campaign, which works to transition the nation away from coal.The Sierra Club said the gift from Bloomberg will effectively retire one-third of America’s aging coal-fired power plants by 2020, and replace them with clean energy.  The announcement was made in front of a power plant in Alexandria, Virginia, by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.

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1:29pm

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Excessive Heat Warning Remains

It’s official - it’s excessively hot outside. The National Weather Service in Louisville has placed most of central Kentucky and southern Indiana under an excessive heat warning. Today’s high temperature is expected to be 97 degrees, but combined with humidity, it could feel as hot as 115. Friday and Saturday also have heat indexes ranging from 105 to 115. Temperatures in the low to mid-90s will continue into next week. To avoid peak temperatures, the weather service recommends that strenuous outdoor activities be scheduled for the early morning or evening hours.

10:39am

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Brutal Heat Settles Over KY

An excessive heat warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for all of Kentucky through 9 p.m. EDT Saturday. The mercury will hover between the low- to mid-90s through the period. Combined with high humidity, heat index values will range from 110 to 115 degrees. The high heat indices will create dangerous conditions for those who work or play outdoors, those without air conditioning, those with chronic health conditions and for the elderly and outdoor pets.

10:36am

Thu July 21, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Ky. 11 Reopens After Mudslide

Rogers and other transportation workers began clearing Ky. 11 on Wednesday morning. The two-lane state highway was cleared by the afternoon. State officials will continue to monitor the stretch for debris.
Charles Bertram Lexington Herald-Leader

A north-south artery in Powell County that was closed by a mudslide reopened Wednesday evening, a spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District 10 in Jackson said. The slide brought mud and trees onto Ky. 11 after 3 to 4 inches of rain fell in about 90 minutes Tuesday night, said H.B. Elkins, spokesman for the Jackson office. While the road was closed, motorists going to Natural Bridge State Resort Park near Slade on Wednesday were asked to take a detour.

5:03pm

Tue July 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

A Study in Compost

Composting Bins at the Lexington Arboretum
Stu Johnson Weku

A crash course in composting is available this summer in Lexington.  The classes are increasingly popular. The idea is to, for instance, mix green vegetation, brown leaves, and cracked egg shells with potato skins.  The successful compost pile often features leaves, twigs, grass clippings and food scraps.  But, Recycling Program Specialist Esther Moberly  says only certain food scraps should find their way into the compost heap.

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4:54pm

Tue July 19, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Power Cooperative Looks For Alternatives

In 2010, grassroots activists in Kentucky launched a movement to halt the construction of a new coal-burning power plant in Clark County - and won. Now, as part of the agreement, a collaborative made up of energy providers and environmental groups is looking for cleaner alternatives to help power the 500,000 homes, farms, and business that rely on the East Kentucky Power Cooperative. David Mitchell, Collaborative chair, says meeting the challenge will take effort from power companies and power users.

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8:51am

Fri July 15, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

LG&E Issues Contradictory Coal Ash Study

Louisville Gas & Electric has released a second study on coal ash. It follows another thatshowed the company is possibly in violation of pollution laws. LG&E says this second report is more accurate, but it might not matter in the long run. People who live near the Cane Run Power Station have complained that fly ash is leaving the landfill and contaminating their homes. The first report, released earlier this week by LG&E, confirmed there were high concentrations of fly ash on their houses.

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