coal

Environment
4:52 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

University of Kentucky Awarded Federal Grant to Develop Carbon Capture Technology

Erica Peterson WFPL

The University of Kentucky will receive nearly $3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to further develop technologies that can reduce the emission of green house gases from coal-fired power plants. 

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Politics
7:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Ky. Environmentalists Want Alison Lundergan Grimes to Address Energy Future Beyond Coal

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes
Credit Grimes campaign

In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, environmentalists says there's little to distinguish Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell on coal.

But activists say what they're most disappointed about is Grimes hasn't outlined an agenda that speaks to the future of Kentucky's economy or the country's energy needs.

Ahead of new federal rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the Grimes campaign presented a decidedly pro-coal message by scolding the Obama administration.

When the Environmental Protection Agency released those proposed standards last week, Grimes reiterated her disappointment, saying the regulations were "out of touch" with Kentucky's needs and would hurt middle-class families.

The Grimes campaign told WFPL the first-term secretary of state does acknowledge climate change and the effects carbon emissions have on the planet's weather patterns.

But aides quickly pivoted to emphasize what they call "unnecessary regulations" that hurt Kentuckians who rely on the coal industry to provide for their families.

"While it is important to protect the environment, it is just as important to make sure the men and women of Kentucky are able to provide for their families,"  said Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton. "As Senator, Alison will work to protect the jobs of hardworking Kentuckians in any solution to the changing climate."

A 2007 Supreme Court ruling found that greenhouse gases created by coal-fired plants are pollutants that are harmful to human health, and are thus subject to regulation.

Longtime Louisville environmental activist Sarah Lynn Cunningham says voters who care about the environment are frustrated with Grimes and that enthusiasm is already declining more than a year before Election Day.

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Environment
10:46 am
Fri September 20, 2013

EPA Releases Proposed Carbon Limits for New Power Plants; Says Won't End Coal Burning

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

The proposed standard sets an emissions limit of 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for large natural gas plants, and 1100 pounds per megawatt hour for coal and smaller natural gas plants.

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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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