Climate change will begin to have a demonstrative effect on Kentucky’s economy within five years.
This is the conclusion from a report released today by the nonprofit Risky Business. The organization is dedicated to exploring the economic effects of climate change, and is chaired by liberal billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, as well as former banker and George W. Bush-era Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Right now, several test wells have been drilled into the Rogersville, which is thought to cover 4 million acres in Kentucky and West Virginia. The results of those test wells are confidential, but if the reserves prove profitable, companies could begin drilling large-scale oil and natural gas wells in the formation.
A lawsuit filed by Kentucky and several other states challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide regulations could be decided “any day now.”
Chief Deputy Attorney General Sean Riley briefed a legislative committee on the lawsuit Thursday. He says the three judge panel hearing the oral arguments in April seemed to agree with the states on the technical merits of their argument.
Kentucky is on track to comply with the EPA’s upcoming federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions—even if no further actions are taken.
The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report Wednesday outlining Kentucky’s progress in complying with the yet-to-be announced federal standard. It estimates that by 2020, the first year the state will have to meet greenhouse gas limits, Kentucky will have already cut its emissions to 113 percent of the goal.
A federal judge in Colorado has ruled the federal government should have taken the indirect environmental effects of expanding the Colowyo and Trapper coal mines into account before issuing a permit. These “indirect effects” include the environmental toll of burning the coal in power plants. But because of differences in the way western and eastern coal mines are regulated, it’s hard to say what effect, if any, this ruling could have on Appalachian mines.
The move stemmed from concerns about climate change and regulatory factors that make investing in the industry more risky. The new approach to coal companies was pushed by environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network. But in Kentucky, the head of the coal association said the policy would likely have little practical impact on the coal industry.