Coal companies will have to pay more to mine coal in Kentucky under new regulations issued by the Energy and Environment cabinet. The state took action after the federal government threatened to take over the state’s surface mining program.
Lake Barkley water levels are at a record low for this time of year. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers says the lake is at just over 356 feet, almost three feet below normal. The low levels are due to a lack of rainfall in the latter part of March and all of April. The Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Authority continue to conserve and store water in an attempt to reach summer pool, around 359 feet. But without more rain, it is unlikely that either Barkley or Kentucky Lake will reach summer pool anytime soon.
Nearly 250 campuses are involved in the Kentucky Green & Healthy Schools program, an initiative aimed at involving students in protecting the environment. State Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters says skills gained in the program help equip students to be environmentally aware. Kentucky Environmental Education Council executive director Elizabeth Schmitz says 50 of those joined in the past year. The idea is to engage children in a variety of efforts, including energy conservation and creating green spaces.
The Kentucky Division of Water is seeking public comment on a new plan for runoff water pollution. The agency says runoff pollution is the leading contributor to water pollution in Kentucky. It happens when water runs across land and carries sediment, nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals and waste from animals and humans into streams, rivers and groundwater. Officials are accepting comment through the end of the month. You can find a link to the plan here.
Record March warmth and not too much April rain have the crop year in Tennessee off to a great start. The only obstacles were overnight freezes in April that damaged some grape crops and some early sweet corn. Now the concern is timely rainfall. Rainfall since January 1 in the western part of the state is off about 8 inches.
LBL officials will hold a public meeting this evening to discuss ways to address a fifty percent cut to the park's maintenance budget. The meeting is the final of four scheduled to seek public input on how to reduce spending and better manage funds. Thus far, officials say park users have been supportive, though numbers at the meetings have been low. The park has around two million visitors each year. Tonight’s meeting is from 5-7 at the Senior/Community Center in Grand Rivers.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission is set to decide soon whether American Electric Power can keep burning coal at an eastern Kentucky power plant.
Kentucky Power’s Big Sandy Power Plant in Lawrence County burns coal, and the company, which is owned by American Electric Power, is asking for PSC approval to install pollution controls to comply with federal regulations and continue burning coal.
But several entities intervening in the case argue that coal isn’t the least-cost option, considering that federal carbon regulations may be in store in the next few decades.
The Arboretum at Murray State University celebrated Arbor Day 2012 on Saturday, April 28. The event began at 10 a.m. with a presentation by Dr. Winston Dunwell, noted expert in the world of ornamental horticulture. A question-and-answer session was held following Dunwell’s remarks.
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.