Erica Peterson

Erica reports on environment and energy issues for WFPL, which run the gamut from stories about the regionââââ

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

  A new report issued by several non-profit and for-profit corporations takes a deeper look at air pollution from power plants in the U.S.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr (Creative Commons License)

A bill that environmental groups say would damage the Clean Air Act is advancing through the House of Representatives. The bipartisan bill is spearheaded by Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield.

The bill—called the Ratepayer Protection Act—passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last Tuesday. According to Whitfield, the bill is a “commonsense solution to protect ratepayers from higher electricity prices, reduced reliability, and other harmful impacts of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.”

Robert Lynch, publicdomainpictures.net

Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities are proposing to withdraw the rate case pending before the Kentucky Public Service Commission, after reaching a settlement with intervenors.

Frankie Steele/Louisville Public Media

 

For the first time in about a century, no union coal miners are working in Kentucky. The state’s few remaining union miners were laid off New Year’s Eve when Patriot Coal’s Highland Mine in Western Kentucky shut down, the United Mine Workers of America confirmed.

“Appalachia was always a really tough nut for the union to crack, and I think maybe Kentucky was the toughest nut of all,” said labor historian James Green, author of a new book about West Virginia’s mine wars.

By MOs810 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This may be the year the world’s developed nations work out a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to slow climate change. The meeting is scheduled for Paris in December, but before that, Pope Francis is expected to tell the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics that climate change is an issue relevant to their faith.

Sen. Mitch McConnell was formally sworn in Tuesday as the Senate’s majority leader, and for the first time in eight years Republicans control both houses of Congress.

Erica Peterson

 

  The federal government has released the nation’s first-ever rules on how to handle, store and dispose of waste from coal-fired power plants. The final iteration of the regulations has largely disappointed environmental groups—who hoped for more stringent rules. Industry groups were more optimistic, but largely said they would have preferred the Environmental Protection Agency not finalize the rules at all and leave the matter up to Congress. The EPA was choosing between two options, and chose to regulate coal ash as akin to household garbage, rather than hazardous waste.

Last month, a joint project by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News revealed that many of the nation's mines—coal and otherwise—operate despite owing large sums of money to the federal government for health and safety violations.

Four-and-a-half years after they were first announced, the Environmental Protection Agency plans to finalize the nation’s first federal rules on the handling of coal ash this month.

High ozone levels aren’t healthy for people, especially the very young, elderly or sick. But the pollution is bad for plants, too, and researchers at Mammoth Cave National Park are trying to determine its effects on the park’s flora.

Pages