coal

Environment
7:03 am
Mon January 13, 2014

In Owensboro, Coal Mine Opponents Use Unlikely Tools to Fight Proposed Mine

A view of some of the land that could be mined, as seen from the Pennyroyal Girl Scout Camp.
Erica Peterson WFPL

A court decision that's expected later this year could decide the fate of a proposed Western Kentucky surface coal mine, and potentially set a precedent for other mines in Daviess County. For the past two years, residents and environmental groups have been campaigning against the mine, arguing it will irreparably damage the environment and erode nearby residents’ quality of life. And they’re using a unique, and unexpected, tool to fight the mine.

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Environment
10:44 am
Fri January 10, 2014

A Coal-Cleaning Chemical Spills in West Virginia, Prompting State of Emergency

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

My former home of Charleston, West Virginia—as well as an nine county radius—is under a state of emergency today after an unknown amount of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol spilled into the Elk River. The river supplies drinking water to the area.

The spill happened at a chemical plant that manufactures a product used to wash coal at processing plants in the region. Now, as many as 100,000 people, and possible more, have been warned not to drink, cook or wash with their tap water.

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Environment
4:24 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Obama Announces 'Promise Zone' Initiative, Including One in Southeastern Kentucky

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

President Obama has announced a new federal initiative to increase economic development in five areas around the country, including southeastern Kentucky. The commonwealth’s “Promise Zone” will include eight counties (Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry and Whitley), all coal-producing.

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Environment
2:42 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

EPA Carbon Limits on New Power Plants Expected Tomorrow

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to formally publish tomorrow a proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions—namely, carbon dioxide—from power plants.

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Environment
4:37 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

State Analysis Urges Energy Diversification... This Time, to Keep Coal in the Mix

Erica Peterson WFPL

A new analysis from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet finds that without policy changes, the commonwealth may be powered almost entirely by natural gas by the middle of the century.

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Environment
11:12 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Cane Run Power Plant Neighbors Sue LG&E Over Coal Ash

The smokestacks at LG&E's coal-fired Cane Run power plant.
Erica Peterson WFPL

Several  of the residents living near the Cane Run Power Plant in Southwest Louisville filed a lawsuit on Monday against Louisville Gas & Electric and parent company PPL over persistent coal ash issues in the neighborhood.

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Environment
12:47 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Kentucky Democrats Join Effort Urging Obama to Include Coal in Nation's Energy Future

Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Several prominent Kentucky Democrats have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to work to develop technologies that will allow coal to continue to play a prominent role in America's energy mix.

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Environment
1:59 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

More on the Data Behind the Decline in Kentucky's Coal Industry

Erica Peterson WFPL

Yesterday, WFPL aired a story about the long relationship Eastern Kentucky residents have had with the coal industry, and where coal’s decline leaves the region.

Read: Hollowed Mountains, Now Hollowed Towns: Coal in Eastern Kentucky.

Both the story and the various economic factors at play in Eastern Kentucky are complicated. But I wanted to call attention to one very important point: that even though there’s been a noticeable decline in the eastern coalfields over the past two years, there’s probably going to be an even greater decline in the demand for Eastern Kentucky coal over the next two years.

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Environment
6:55 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Hollowed Mountains, Now Hollowed Towns: Coal in Eastern Kentucky

A truck in Harlan, Ky., proclaims its support for coal and coal miners.
Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL News

HARLAN—People in Eastern Kentucky are used to the ups and downs of a coal-based economy. Prices plummet. Production slows down. Coal miners get laid off. Several months later, prices rise. The phone rings. Miners pick up their helmets and go back to work.

We're in one of those slumps now—but, this time, things are different. In the hardest-hit counties, the bumpers of heavy-duty Ford pickup trucks still host Friends of Coal license plates, next to stickers telling other drivers that coal keeps the lights on. But the winding mountain roads are a little quieter.

You can drive miles without seeing one of the lumbering coal trucks that, for years, carried away the region’s resources.

Coal is embedded into the culture and image of Eastern Kentucky, but the industry is declining in the region. And it's declining permanently. The coal miners—who've known coal through the generations—are being left behind.

Kentucky political leaders largely resort to finger-pointing and rhetoric. 

The coal miners, however, are left with few options but to adapt.

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Education
11:35 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

JCPS Approves Frost Middle School Redesign Despite Air Quality Concerns

Credit Erica Peterson / WFPL

The Jefferson County school board approved school redesigns in the southwest, which aim to attract more students living in the area that are leaving for better options. But board member Chris Brady says students may now be exposed longer to air that doesn't meet quality standards. 

“Would you want your children or your grandchildren to go to Frost. The answer for me is simply no. In my view this proposal puts our children at increased risk and should be denied,” he says.

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