As complaints over coal ash near the Cane Run power plant continue, Louisville Gas and Electric has begun construction of a 50-foot tall dust screen which the company hopes will resolve neighborhood concerns about dust emissions.
The screen will be 223 feet long—or about 2/3 the length of a football field—and will shield nearby houses from the company’s sludge processing plant. The processing plant has malfunctioned several times in the past year and released clouds of dust into the neighborhood.
LG&E has already taken several steps to reduce dust at Cane Run—like cutting vehicle traffic and using more water. This screen is an additional effort.
“We have decided that this would be another measure that we could install at the plant to further reduce emissions coming from the site,” LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan said. “We think this is just one more step in the process.”
Neighborhood residents are skeptical. Kathy Little lives across the street from the power plant. She said she hopes the screen helps resolve the neighborhood’s fugitive dust issues, but she’s also worried the new structure might be meant to keep people from seeing what’s going on at the plant.
“If they’re trying to do something that might eliminate some dust, fine,” Little said. “If they’re just trying to pull up a screen so they can continue to do what they do, I’m not impressed.”
LG&E reached a settlement with the Air Pollution Control District last week over several previous coal ash violations, but this new screen isn’t part of the settlement and the district isn’t endorsing it.
“We didn’t ask LG&E to install this screen,” spokesman Tom Nord said. “We can’t say what effect it will have on the dust over there.” He added that there’s no regulation that says the company can’t install the screen.
Residents have videotaped two additional incidents over the past 10 days, and the APCD continues to monitor the situation.
The screen is made by a Florida-based company called Action Sports Netting. The company primarily provides netting for golf courses, tennis courts and landfills, and this is its first power plant project. Weather permitting, the screen should be finished by Friday.