Several residents near the Cane Run Power Station are angry after Louisville Gas & Electric employees walked onto their property without permission to collect dust samples off their homes.
LG&E has been fined $50,000 over the past year for several instances in which coal ash has left the landfill at the power plant and contaminated nearby homes—the first notice of violation was settled for $19,500. The newest series of violations is still pending, and for several months the company has been taking dust samples off nearby homes to determine whether ash is leaving the facility—and if so, how much.
LG&E visited 29 homes near the Cane Run station this week to sample. Spokeswoman Liz Pratt says residents were home in 20 of those houses. The company took samples from all the homes, even if homeowners weren’t home to give permission.
“We mistakenly proceeded with the sampling at those homes in the residents’ absence,” she said.
The situation infuriated Kathy Little, who lives across the street from the plant and has been documenting the coal ash situation for more than a year.
“It’s bad enough that we have to breathe and put up with all this filth and now we have to allow them on our property without our permission?” she wrote in an email. “Wonder how far I’d get if I tried to walk into [the] LG&E Cane Run plant?”
Little says she has repeatedly given permission for the Air Pollution Control District to take samples off her property, but doesn’t trust LG&E and the laboratory they use to produce accurate results.
“This sampling is part of our continued commitment to the APCD to monitor for particulate emissions from our Cane Run facility,” Pratt said.
But Air Pollution Control District officials were adamant that LG&E was not doing dust sampling at the agency’s bidding. “The APCD does its own sampling,” spokesman Tom Nord said. “We would not ask LG&E to take samples for us.”
Pratt says LG&E will destroy the samples obtained without residents’ permission. She says in the future, the company will send out notices to residents and obtain verbal consent before entering private property.