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WKYT

A 42-year-old coal miner was killed Thursday in an accident in an underground Pike County mine. Ray Hatfield, of Hi Hat Ky., a conveyor belt attendant with 23 years of experience, suffered fatal injuries inside the R&C Coal LLC Mine No. 2 in Pikeville.

The mine was shut down after the fatality and continues to be closed on Friday while an investigation into the fatal accident continues. The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the mine Thursday night and they remain on scene.

Ongoing Battle for Retired Miners' Benefits

Nov 14, 2016
Public News Service

Legislation to protect healthcare and pension benefits for around 120,000 former coal miners and their families is stuck in the U.S. Senate, where Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell is in charge. The majority leader has kept the Miners' Protection Act from coming to the floor.

Steve Brewer worked underground in Pike County for 21 years, until he broke his back in a mining accident. Brewer said it's time for Congress to honor a 70-year-old promise guaranteeing miners lifetime benefits.

Poll: Strong Support Across Appalachia for RECLAIM Act

Oct 12, 2016
Public News Service

A new Sierra Club poll shows nearly nine out of every ten people living in Appalachia support a Kentucky congressman's plan to help communities impacted by America's shift away from coal.

The RECLAIM Act, introduced in the House by Somerset Republican Hal Rogers, proposes using one billion dollars from the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund on economic development and diversification projects.

Sarah Bowling, who grew up in Pikeville and is now in graduate school in Lexington, said it would help both the environment and the economy.

Kentucky's Renewable Power Potential

Dec 14, 2015
International Energy Agency

All 50 states and 139 countries can shift to 100 percent wind, water and solar power by 2050, according to a new analysis from Stanford University.

Factoring in the health and climate-related costs of air pollution, the research showed that the transition would save money and spark more employment. When all costs are included, said Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson, wind now is the cheapest energy source in the United States - even without subsidies - and solar is nearly as cheap.

Public Comment Sought About Fracking in Kentucky

Jul 9, 2015
Huffington Post

Bracing for a boom in deep-well fracking, state lawmakers revised Kentucky's regulations on oil and gas production in March.

Environmentalists and landowners will now get to express their views about the regulatory revisions in a trio of public meetings across the commonwealth, beginning tonight in Madisonville.

Many Kentuckians are concerned that requiring before-and-after water sampling on high-volume, hydraulic fracking is simply not enough.

Politico

East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) and its 16 owner-member electric cooperatives have released a second documentary film examining the effects of Eastern Kentucky’s declining coal industry on the region’s residents.

The film, “The People At The End Of The Lines,” documents the impacts on laid-off coal miners, local schools and people struggling to pay household bills.

Report Shows Public Lands Contributing to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mar 30, 2015
Greg Stotelmyer

A new accounting of greenhouse gas emissions shows more than 20 percent of emissions in the United States are the result of oil, gas and coal extracted from federal lands.

The report from The Wilderness Society and Center for American Progress calls for a full inventory of those sources, and strategies to reduce emissions.

Joshua Mantell, government relations representative at The Wilderness Society, says the federal government has made great strides through efficiency programs.

WSAZ

The Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting has granted a construction certificate for an electric generating plant and associated electric transmission line at a planned coke plant in northern Greenup County.

SunCoke Energy South Shore LLC, of Lisle, Illinois, intends to construct a 90-megawatt (MW) plant in conjunction with a coke plant to be built on about 250 acres along the Ohio River 2 miles northeast of the city of South Shore. The site is currently in agricultural use, but is near other industrial facilities.

Kentucky Residents Wait For Coal Ash Ruling

Dec 16, 2014
Earth 911

Federal rules about the storage and disposal of coal ash are expected from the Environmental Protection Agency this week.

Kentucky is "in the center of the storm" about public health risks caused by coal ash, a toxic byproduct created when coal-fired power plants generate electricity, said Thomas Pearce, Kentucky organizing representative for the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal campaign. Rules that classify coal ash as a hazardous substance are long overdue, Pearce said.

KY/WV Attorneys General Sue EPA

Sep 4, 2014
ESSA

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and his West Virginia counterpart Patrick Morrisey have agreed to join a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its authority to regulate carbon emissions.

Both men feel the EPA lacks that power and explained why during a press conference in Ashland (KY) on Wednesday (September 3).       

Morrisey says the regulations proposed by the agency in June are hurting the much-beleaguered coal industry already.

Adkins on Burch Controversy

Aug 18, 2014
www.rockyadkins.com

House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins of Morehead says there’s no need for Democratic State Representative Tom Burch to resign following controversial remarks the Louisville lawmaker made about the coal industry last Thursday. In a speech to the Louisville Forum, Burch said a lot of good would come to Kentucky “if we could get coal out of the way”.

Adkins on White House Coal Meeting

Aug 4, 2014
www.rockyadkins.com

Kentucky House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins says he’s looking forward to going back to the White House to discuss federal coal policy with senior advisors to President Obama. The Morehead Democrat says he, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and State Representative Sannie Overly were invited to return to Washington following their meeting at the White House last month.

Adkins says Kentucky lawmakers have been seeking such a forum for six years, so they could make the case for coal and talk about the impact environmental policies have had on the industry…

Coal Caucus Blasts EPA

Jul 31, 2014
NPR

Congressman Hal Rogers says federal environmental policies that are forcing the Big Sandy Power Plant in Lawrence County to stop operating as a coal-fired facility defy logic. The eastern Kentucky Republican made the charge at a press conference Wednesday sponsored by the Congressional Coal Caucus…

Rogers says more than seven-thousand mining jobs in his district have been lost in recent years. He says the EPA’s policies are putting people out of work and driving up the cost of energy for consumers.

Transition Plan Needed In Appalachian Coalfields

Jul 7, 2014
West Virginia Division of Tourism

Government programs could help communities adapt to a future with less mining, say regional economic groups. In the past, the federal government has helped areas hit by international trade and a decline in tobacco farming.

Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said similar efforts are just beginning in West Virginia. According to Bailey, the nation owes coal-dependent areas economic help.

Carbon Emission Rules To Have Economic Impact

Jun 5, 2014
Sierra Club

Depending on whom you ask, the proposal for new EPA carbon pollution rules will be a new start for the Kentucky economy – or the new rules will drag the state down.

Given reductions that have already happened, Kentucky's power plants will have to cut their carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent more by the year 2030.

Critics say that will be expensive, but Wallace McMullen, energy chair for the Sierra Club in Kentucky, points out climate disasters linked to global warming have already cost Kentuckians some $850 million in 2011 and 2012.

Coal Ash Pond Threatens Herrington Lake

May 15, 2014
The Lane Report

Environmental groups say a leaking coal ash pond near Harrodsburg has seeped into Herrington Lake and contaminated groundwater in the area. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice made the claim in a press conference on Thursday (May 15).

They say the leak is from a 126-acre impoundment that is part of the E.W. Brown coal-fired power plant. The facility is owned by Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities.

Environmental Groups Claim Illegal Discharges Into Ohio River

Mar 17, 2014
Broken Sidewalk

Two environmental groups announced on Monday (March 17) they plan to sue Louisville Gas and Electric for what they say are illegal discharges from the company’s Mill Creek Power Plant into the Ohio River.

Local Sierra Club members installed a camera across the river from the Mill Creek plant, capturing a year’s worth of time-lapsed photos.

Sierra Club organizer Tom Pearce says the pictures show LG&E released water from its coal ash ponds into the Ohio River constantly, which he says is violation of the company’s permit.

Barr on Loss of Coal Jobs

Feb 6, 2014
barr.house.gov

Congressman Andy Barr of Lexington says President Obama is correct when he says there’s a lack of upward mobility in the country. However, the Kentucky Republican charges that the President’s environmental policies are largely to blame.

He says more than 2,200 mining jobs have been lost in the Appalachian coalfields in the last year alone. New regulations on coal-fired power plants, he claims, have taken their toll…

Barr says the number of coal miners in Kentucky is now at its lowest level since 1927. The Congressman spoke on the House floor Wednesday.

The House Education Committee has put its stamp of approval on a bill that extends a college scholarship program for students from Kentucky’s coal-producing counties.

Bill sponsor and House Speaker Greg Stumbo says the intent is to help young people from the eastern and western coal regions attend post-secondary schools closer to home.

The Prestonsburg Democrat says too many of them live too far away from a four-year public university. Stumbo says the program would enable students to use money from coal severance taxes to attend public or private schools in their area.

Unemployment Increases In Eastern Kentucky

Dec 26, 2013

The unemployment rate has risen over the past year in 96 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. 

Data from the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training shows that the statewide unemployment rate for November was up slightly over last year at 7.7 percent, with an increase of three-tenths of a percent.

Workforce Development Cabinet Economist Manoj Shanker says the increase reflects a particularly devastating year for Eastern Kentucky communities, which have the highest unemployment rates in Kentucky.

Institute For Energy Research

There isn’t much for the coal industry to cheer in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Energy Outlook for 2014.

A report presented in Washington on Monday (Dec. 16) by EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, cites the domestic production of natural gas, especially from the Marcellus Shale, a “remarkable development” that’s likely to continue into next year and beyond.

Sieminski says the Marcellus is now producing more than 13-billion cubic feet of natural gas daily, compared to two-billion in 2010.

Congressman Wants EPA Hearings in KY

Nov 15, 2013
CSPAN

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie thinks the Environmental Protection Agency should hold hearings in Kentucky on reducing carbon emissions at existing power plants.  The Lewis County Republican delivered that message Thursday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy during a hearing in Washington.

He gives credit to McCarthy for agreeing to a series of “listening sessions” on the issue but says none are scheduled to take place in coal country…

Geologist on Coal Decline

Oct 31, 2013
Power Engineering

Geology and economics are working against coal mining in eastern Kentucky and that points to a troubled future for the industry…That’s the view of Dr. Zane Selvans who is a geologist with the environmental organization Clean Energy Action.

Selvans says much of the coal still left in the Appalachian region is buried deep in the ground and requires large investments to extract it. He says that situation coupled with the growth of the natural gas business has created financial difficulty for coal companies…

Bell County Judge, Yarmuth Talk About Coal

Oct 30, 2013

Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock says nearly 20% of the population of eastern Kentucky has been directly affected by the loss of 7,000 coal mining jobs in the last two years. Brock shared those figures with a House Energy subcommittee in Washington Tuesday. The panel is investigating the impact of EPA regulations on the coal industry and the local economies of coal communities.

Brock says eastern Kentucky is more dependent on coal than Detroit is on cars. He says his county’s revenues have plummeted 25% in the last 18 months…

Congressman Barr on Coal Decline

Sep 19, 2013
barr.house.gov

Lexington Congressman Andy Barr says the latest quarterly figures on coal production in eastern Kentucky paint a dire picture of the industry. He says they show that production is down more than 40% and another 850 coal jobs were lost.

Kentucky's Coal Employment Reaches Record Low

Aug 9, 2013
KY1V Post

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s data for the second quarter of 2013 shows that coal production dropped 1.3 percent statewide in that time period. There was a slight drop in both the Eastern and Western Kentucky coalfields, but Western Kentucky still produced slightly more coal—50.2 percent of the total production.

But the more dramatic drop is in employment. The data shows a six percent drop since the first quarter of the year. There are now about 12,300 coal miners employed in the state—the lowest since the state began keeping records in 1927.

Feature: Kentucky's Energy Future

Aug 1, 2013

It's no secret that Kentucky's coal industry has been hurting in recent years, and renewed pledges from the federal government to curb carbon emissions pose even more challenges...but as MSPR's Joshua Grandison reports, Kentucky may still have a fighting chance in energy...

MSU

A textile plant in the John Will Stacy Industrial Park is set to close. Officials in Kentucky’s coal counties want a larger share of the state’s coal severance tax revenues…and State Senator Robin Webb says Kentucky should consider adopting rules for the disposal of wastes from fracking.