coal

Politics
2:02 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Senate Democrats Blocking McConnell's Coal Bill Puts Alison Lundergan Grimes in Tough Spot

Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

The pro-coal message of Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was complicated by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid on Thursday, who blocked a bill introduced by Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to ease federal regulations.

Reid's actions comes just days after Grimes called on the Obama administration to hold off on new environmental restrictions.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell asked for unanimous consent on his  "Saving Coal Jobs Act" to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing carbon emission standards for power plants.

"The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics," McConnell said. "The EPA’s actions ignore the thousands of people in my home state of Kentucky who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods."

Reid quickly objected to delay the bill while promising to hold a vote at a later date despite McConnell's urgency that the measure is needed now ahead of new EPA emission standards this week.

A coal industry leader had already raised doubts about Grimes being a more effective voice for Kentucky coal operators and miners than McConnell. But Reid's maneuvering raises further questions about whether Grimes can stand up to the Democratic leader while relying on him politically to unseat McConnell.

"Alison isn't afraid to stand up to members of either party," a Grimes campaign aide told WFPL. "She will stand up for Kentucky as its next U.S. Senator. When she is in the Senate she will get things done on behalf of Kentucky's working families. Today just underscores McConnell's weakness and ineffectiveness. His influence isn't working and he's unable to deliver for the people of Kentucky."

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Environment
5:04 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

McConnell Introduces Bill to Block Carbon Standards for Power Plants

Erica Peterson WFPL

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing new carbon emissions standards for power plants.

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Politics
9:44 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Kentucky Coal Leader Doubts Alison Lundergan Grimes Could Be Stronger Advocate Than Mitch McConnell

Alison Lundergan Grimes (l) and Mitch McConnell (r)
Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

A top coal industry leader in Kentucky is questioning if Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes can break with President Obama on restraining environmental regulations.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett also credits Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for being the industry's chief proponent in Washington, D.C. despite the Grimes campaign blaming the GOP leader for job losses.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to unveil stricter pollution limits this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Despite reports that regulations would not be as stringent on coal plants as originally expected, Grimes pounced on the Obama administration to hold off.

"Coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky—plain and simple—and I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families. Any new regulations must take into account the impact on Kentucky jobs and be based on current technology that will not drive Kentucky coal out of business," Grimes said.

The message is part of an effort to blunt Republican attacks that Grimes would be beholden to the president's environmental agenda. But attempts to pick up support from Kentucky coal industry leaders has yet to materialize when many already view McConnell as their top advocate.

"One person's position on coal is defined and the other has yet to be," says Bissett. "I would say our industry has looked at Sen. McConnell as the chief adversary of President Obama since he took office. I think you've seen Sen. McConnell be very engaged in coal and standing in the way of a lot the president's policies as it relates to coal in Kentucky."

Bissett adds that Grimes hasn't said much about the subject until now and rarely was involved with the industry's concerns or needs in her capacity as secretary of state.

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Environment
12:15 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

James River Shuts Down Coal Operations in Kentucky; 525 Employees Laid Off

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

RICHMOND, Va. — James River Coal Co. is laying off 525 full-time employees and shutting down production at several mines in eastern Kentucky due to continued weak coal markets.

The Richmond-based company said Monday night the layoffs occurred at operations at the McCoy Elkhorn complex in Pike and Floyd counties, the Bledsoe complex in Leslie and Harlan counties, and the Long Branch Surface mine in London, Ky.

James River says the restart of the operations is subject to market conditions.

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Environment
8:30 am
Tue September 17, 2013

What Does the Future Look Like for Coal Exports From Kentucky?

Credit Harry Schaefer / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

As U.S. consumption of coal declines, it’s led to economic problems in some of the country’s coalfields—most notably, Appalachia. For the past few years, the buzzword from the coal industry has been “exports:" relying on a rising demand for coal in countries like China and India to help cushion the blow to the region’s economy.

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Environment
4:41 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Judge Grants Temporary Injunction, Environmental Groups Appeal Kentucky Mine Decision

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A judge has temporarily halted work at a surface mine in Eastern Kentucky, while he considers an appeal.

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Environment
10:29 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Judge Rules Against Environmental Groups in Case Involving Coal Mining's Health Effects

Credit Creative Commons

A federal judge has ruled against environmental groups in a case involving a surface mine in Eastern Kentucky.

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Environment
12:35 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Sierra Club Director Urges EPA to Reject Kentucky's Proposed Selenium Standard

Gabe Bullard WFPL

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune has sent the federal Environmental Protection Agency a letter asking regulators to reject Kentucky's proposed selenium standard.

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Environment
2:41 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Expert to Discuss Links Between Coal Burning, Health Problems Tomorrow

Erica Peterson WFPL

Burning coal releases pollution into the air, though advanced controls have made the process cleaner. But for decades, studies show that pollution has taken a significant toll on human health.

Dr. Alan Lockwood is a professor of neurology at the University of Buffalo, and on the board for Physicians for Social Responsibility. He’s the author of a book on the effects of coal on health, and will be in Louisville tomorrow to lead a discussion on the subject. I spoke with him via phone from his home.

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Environment
2:13 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

New Study Pinpoints Unique Isotopes in Pollution From Mountaintop Removal Mines

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A new study has identified the specific isotopes of pollutants that leave mountaintop removal sites and enter Appalachian waterways. The new data could help researchers determine how much of a stream’s pollution is due to coal mining.

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