An appeals courthas ruled in favor of environmental groups that argued the streamlined permit the government used to permit mountaintop removal mines wasn’t protective of the environment. The decision was issued today by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Pikeville. It finds that the U.S. Army Corps’ issuance of the streamlined “Nationwide 21” permit is in violation of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Rice University scientists Michael Wong (left) and Juan Velazquez are working with researchers at DuPont and Stanford University to field test PGClear, a scalable process for removing chlorinated pollutants from water.
Spring-cleaning season has arrived, and for many Kentuckians that means burning unwanted debris. The Kentucky Division for Air Quality reminds residents to learn before you burn. Illegal burning could result in fines of as much as $25,000 per day per violation. Many people may not realize that burning trash is illegal in Kentucky. State law prohibits the burning of many materials including plastic, tires, cans, coated wire, carpeting and food waste. In addition, the burning of trailers, buildings, and construction and demolition debris such as shingles, drywall and insulation is prohibited.
As several fires continue to burn in wooded areas across Pike County on Thursday, forestry officials said the fires are now under control. According to Tad Norris, the district forester for the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Eastern District, three woodland fires were burning in Pike County Thursday in areas near Grapevine, Dorton and Elkhorn City. Norris said the fires have been brought under control and have been contained.
Thunderstorms are predicted this afternoon for southern Indiana. Those storms will slowly drift southward. In the meantime, a strong storm system in the Plains will move into the western Ohio Valley tonight. Rain, thunderstorms, with large hail and damaging winds, are likely tonight in Kentucky - particularly in areas west of Interstate 65, the National Weather Service office in Louisville said.
The Kentucky Administrative Regulation Review Committee has advanced new rules proposed by the state Energy and Environment Cabinet to regulate the levels of selenium in Kentucky waterways. The state says the new regulations are a necessary update, and will adequately protect the environment and aquatic species; but environmental groups have raised serious concerns and say the proposal doesn't comply with the federal Clean Water Act and is unenforceable.
Following a record warm March in 2012, a persistent pattern of wintry weather across Kentucky left March 2013 as one of the coldest on record. The statewide average temperature for March based on the Kentucky Mesonet, the Commonwealth’s official source of climatological observations, was 39.8 degrees while the statewide average temperature for March 2012 was 57.9 degrees, according to Stuart Foster, state climatologist and director of the Kentucky Mesonet.
The Environmental Protection Agencyplans to assess 23 commonly-used chemicals—including 20 flame retardants—for their potential effects on human health and the environment. The study will also include an analysis of how several of those flame retardants behave in the environment…like whether they bioaccumulate in humans or can be absorbed into the body with a certain type of exposure.
Most of Kentucky will see snow this evening but amounts will vary widely. A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 7 p.m. CDT today for Western Kentucky. Snow will generally accumulate about an inch, the National Weather Service Paducah office said. Major travel issues are not expected, the weather service said, but winds will be gusty at times.
A leading conservation scientist will speak at the University of Louisville tomorrow about the ways the environmental movement can better tackle subjects like climate change. M. Sanjayan is the Nature Conservancy’s lead scientist and a wildlife research professor. He says today, the relationship between people and nature is symbiotic. The planet isn’t pure and pristine anymore—instead, it’s been shaped by more than 20,000 years of human habitation. Sanjayan says it’s important to see humans as part of the solution to fixing the earth’s environmental problems.
Rain will change over to snow late today and continue into Monday, according to the National Weather Service. Accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible for Central Kentucky. Cities in the impacted area include Hawesville, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Bedford, Shelbyville, Frankfort, Georgetown, Lexington, Carlisle, Bardstown, Nicholasville and Winchester, according to the NWS office in Louisville.
Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear announce that the Capitol campus will go dark this Saturday in support of “Earth Hour,” an international environmental campaign sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, according to a news release from the governor's office.
Asian carp is an invasive species of fish that can devastate aquatic ecosystems and, as they have a propensity for leaping out of the water, injure boaters. And once they've gotten into a river or lake, they're nearly impossible to get out. But for two days this week in Western Kentucky, teams of commercial fishermen tried. They descended on two lakes to catch as many Asian carp as possible. It was a tournament sponsored by the commonwealth and it was called…Carp Madness.
Kentucky is in for a bit of unsettled weather over the next several days as winter shifts into spring. A possible mix of rain, thunderstorms, snow showers and temperatures ranging some 30 degrees - from the upper 20s to the mid-50s - dominate the forecast. “It’s a roller coaster,” said Scott Hickman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.
A new bill signed into law by Governor Steve Beshear last week clarifies the rules that regulate biomass plants in Kentucky. The bill gives additional guidance to the Public Service Commission on how to regulate biomass plants that sell power to a utility in Kentucky, with one particular project in mind: a biomass plant outside Hazard. Construction on the plant—owned by Lexington-based ecoPower—is expected to begin on the plant sometime this year.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Northern Kentucky beginning at 11 a.m. today and continuing until 1 p.m. Wednesday. Three to 5 inches of snow along with some ice is possible. Rain will mix with snow late this afternoon and then change over to all snow tonight.
Today is the official start of the tornado season. Kentucky led all states in 2012 with 23 tornado fatalities - the result of tornadoes that struck several locations around the state on March 2, 2012. Many experts say that preparedness is the key to avoid being a tornado fatality.
A former mine company executive in West Virginia pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from the 2010 disaster at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Mine. David Hughart was the Massey division president overseeing the mine when it exploded, killing 29 coal miners.
American Electric Power has agreed to stop burning coal at several coal-fired units in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. The company reached a settlement today with a coalition of environmental groups, several states and the Environmental Protection Agency.
White Nose Syndrome has been found in two Kentucky state parks. State officials announced today that infected bats have turned up in caves at Carter Cave State Resort Park in Carter County and the Kingdom Come State Park Nature Preserve in Letcher County. White Nose Syndrome is caused by a white fungus, and is deadly to bats. Since 2006, the fungus has been found in 21 states. The disease has killed more than 6 million bats in four Canadian provinces and 19 states, including Kentucky. It was discovered in Mammoth Cave last month.
It will be partly sunny today across most of Kentucky and the high will flirt with 60 degrees. But rain is likely in many areas of the state during the overnight hours with a low in the upper 30s. Friday morning could see more showers but it could turn mostly sunny by the afternoon with a high of near 45, according to the National Weather Service.
Louisville Gas and Electric could pay up to $250,000 to settle alleged safety violations that stemmed from a natural gas explosion in southern Jefferson County a year ago. The December 2011 natural gas explosion in southern Jefferson County destroyed a house, damaged several nearby properties and killed a dog. In the settlement, LG&E will pay $125,000 to the Public Service Commission. Another $125,000 in penalties is suspended pending the company’s completion of several remedial measures. The penalties are the highest ever assessed by the PSC in a safety case.