Environmental Protection Agency

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

Legislation seeking to end what some call strict Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plant emissions has passed the house Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

Kentucky's first district Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield chairs the subcommittee and co-sponsored the bill with Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Erica Peterson

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions—like carbon dioxide –from existing power plants next June. But Kentucky regulators are preemptively trying to influence the agency’s decision-making.

Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

The Secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said he’s a strong supporter of natural gas development as a source of energy in Kentucky and elsewhere. However, Len Peters said the country will be a lot better off with a blend of options.

“If all we do is move coal-dominated electricity generation to a natural gas electricity generation is not a good way to go," said Peters. "There’s no diversification in that. We have to be able to build coal. We have to be able to build natural gas. Nobody wants to build nuclear these days so we’re moving away from a more balanced set of opportunities.”

Wikimedia Commons

A U.S. District Court has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether to set new limitations on pollution that is fueling dangerous algae growth in many waterways across the nation.

The court’s decision comes after a suit was filed against the EPA by several conservation groups, including the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

Democratic US Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is attacking the Obama administration for an Environmental Protection Agency ruling that she said will cost coal mining jobs in Kentucky.

Grimes, who’s seeking to replace Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said she was deeply disappointed by the EPA’s decision to impose stricter limits on carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants. 

The Sierra Club is calling a circuit court decision to overrule a Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet permit that allowed a coal-burning power plant to dump polluted water into the Ohio River a landmark.

Louisville Gas and Electric’s Trimble County power plant uses settling ponds for wastewater before sending it into the Ohio River. The Energy and Environment Cabinet issued a permit for this treatment effective April 2010. Sierra Club Kentucky Energy Chair Wallace McMullen said the permitted treatment isn’t enough to keep the water clean.

“We were fairly appalled that they were letting water which has been used to try to absorb all the nasty poisons in the flue gas – arsenic, mercury, barium, what have you – and it’s just going straight into the Ohio without any significant treatment,” he said.

TVA, Wikimedia Commons

A coalition of environmental and clean water groups, including the Sierra Club, released a new report Tuesday highlighting the need for strong Environmental Protection Agency standards to limit toxic water pollution from Kentucky coal plants, including west Paducah’s Shawnee Fossil Plant.

A Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant in Muhlenberg County that is undergoing expensive pollution control upgrades has been named a top polluter. The Environmental Integrity Project says the TVA Paradise Fossil Plant near Drakesboro emitted more than 1,500 pounds of arsenic, almost a ton of lead and about 1,400 pounds of chromium in 2011. The plant was ranked third on the group’s metal emissions list, which was compiled from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. 

Arnold Paul, via Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky Utilities will spend $57 million to install updated pollution control equipment and pay civil penalties under the terms of a proposed consent decree.

The money will go to installing a sulfuric acid mist emission control system at the company’s Ghent power plant, replace a coal-fired boiler and pay $300,000 in fines to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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