The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled environmental groups can intervene in a court case involving a coal company and water pollution. Thursday’s ruling upholds a lower court decision that the groups can participate in a lawsuit filed by the state’s Energy and Environment Cabinet against Frasure Creek Mining. The state filed a lawsuit against the mining company for violations of the Clean Water Act in eastern Kentucky. A settlement was reached, but the environmental groups say it is inadequate.
Prescription drug abuse is an ongoing problem in Kentucky’s mines but recent steps taken by the state legislature are helping get control of it. That’s what a member of the state mine safety review commission told the senate judiciary committee this week. Paducah attorney Duncan Pitchford says miners in the western Kentucky coalfields are also struggling with methamphetamine addictions.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would designate some coal severance tax money to scholarships for coalfields residents; the measure has already passed the House. But a report by a non-profit group warns that Kentucky needs to think about the long-term future of the state’s coal severance fund. Coal producers pay a tax of four and a half percent value of coal that’s sold into the state’s coal severance fund. Half of that money goes to Kentucky’s general fund, and the other half goes to various programs in coal-producing counties.
A proposal to make the private University of Pikeville a public institution has hit a roadblock in the Kentucky legislature. House Speaker Greg Stumbo conceded Thursday he doesn't think lawmakers will accept a proposal to use millions of dollars from a tax on coal mined in the region to turn the private University of Pikeville into a public school. What started as a seemingly unlikely proposal had gathered momentum early in the legislative session. But that momentum waned in recent weeks, after local officials and public university leaders objected. Former Gov.