The new standard is 20 percent more stringent than the current standard, which was set in 1997. It will require communities to make sure fine particle pollution is limited to 12 micrograms per cubic meter annually (the current limit is 15).
A three-judge panel has voted two to one to strike down a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would require some states to reduce pollution that travels across state lines. This puts the EPA in a difficult position.
The involvement of a state representative in a major coal deal in Kentucky is raising some eyebrows. The $7 billion contract signed yesterday creates a 25-year standing order to ship 9 million tons of Kentucky coal annually to India. Pike County Representative Keith Hall was instrumental in brokering the deal—but he also has several coal-related businesses. He also sits on the board of FJS Energy—the New Jersey-based company that signed the contract. Hall says his involvement in the deal was both as a state lawmaker and a businessman.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 12:07 pm
Kentucky is number one on a list of the states with the most toxic air pollution from power plants.
The Natural Resources Defense Council analyzed the data self-reported by industries in the Toxic Release Inventory, which is managed by the federal government. The most recent data is from 2010, and that year, Kentucky’s power plants emitted more than 40 million pounds of toxic air pollution. This gives the state the dubious honor of being ranked number one in the nation.
A rally in support of coal is scheduled for this weekend in southeast Kentucky. It stemmed from a Facebook post, but now Bell County resident and business owner Joe Harris says he expects more than 20,000 people to line a county road Saturday in support of coal. Harris says the event—dubbed “Hands of Coal Across Bell County” isn’t a protest, but just a show of support for the coal industry. Coal is still a major employer in Bell County, but as reduced demand leads to layoffs, Harris says other residents and businesses are suffering.
Environmental groups have filed suit in federal court in an effort to get the Environmental Protection Agency to stiffen rules regulating air pollution. The EPA finalized the Cross-State Air Pollution rule last summer, to crack down on several states—including Kentucky—that both send pollution across state lines and are affected by pollution from other states. That rule has been challenged by several states and industry groups, and is held up in court.