EPA Registers Objections to 19 Kentucky Coal Mine Permits

by Erica Peterson on September 30, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency has objected to 19 coal mining permits in Kentucky.

In his letter to President Barack Obama earlier this week, Governor Steve Beshear specifically mentioned 55 Kentucky permits that were pending approval from the EPA. The EPA has responded to 54 of those permits, and has registered objections to 19 of them.

The draft permits are seeking the approval to discharge waste from surface coal mines under the federal Clean Water Act. The letter from the regional EPA office said there were holes in the permit applications—like a lack of basic information about the characteristics and effects of the proposed pollution. The agency also called into question the accuracy of the information on the permits. The state has to respond to the agency’s concerns, and can request individual public hearings for each permit. But if the state can’t resolve the issues, the EPA has the final authority to grant or reject the permit.

The EPA also issued comments on 35 other proposed permits. For those permits, the state has to consider and respond to the EPA’s suggestions, but the state has the authority to make the final permitting decision.

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Unrest in Lybia, EPA Tours Eastern Kentucky: Today on Here and Now

by Laura Ellis August 22, 2011

1:06pm: Opposition forces are in control of most of Tripoli, but Moammar Gaddafi‘s whereabouts remain unclear. The Pentagon believes he’s still in the country. The rebel National Transitional Council reportedly has a 70-page plan for leading Libya over the next few months, but there are many unanswered questions. Will they turn over Gaddafi and his […]

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McConnell Echoes “War on Coal” Rhetoric

by admin June 1, 2011

by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell says the Environmental Protection Agency has declared war on coal, and the Kentucky Republican is siding with the industry. Speaking before the Kentucky Coal Association in Lexington Wednesday, McConnell said the EPA has defied logic and operated outside the scope of its authority with a […]

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Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Mountaintop Removal

by Gabe Bullard April 26, 2011

The three Republican candidates for Governor of Kentucky have shown varying degrees of support for the coal mining technique commonly called mountaintop removal. Businessman Phil Moffett calls the procedure ‘mountaintop development,’ and says it creates flat land that can be used for commercial purposes. State Senate President David Williams says he will stand up to […]

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Former Massey Foreman Pleads Guilty in Case Stemming From Upper Big Branch

by Gabe Bullard April 14, 2011

The first guilty plea has been entered in the federal criminal case that was launched after last year’s Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia. Former Massey Energy foreman Thomas Harrah’s plea agreement includes the admission that he faked his foreman’s credentials while working at Upper Big Branch, then lied to federal agents about […]

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Beshear Visits Mountaintop Removal Sites

by Graham Shelby April 8, 2011

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear spent part of Thursday visiting mountaintop removal coal mining sites in Eastern Kentucky. Beshear’s trip was the fulfillment of a promise he made to a group of activists who staged a protest in his office in February. The protesters had asked Beshear to end his support for the practice of mountaintop […]

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Nearly One Year After Upper Big Branch, Massey Cited for Safety Violations

by Gabe Bullard March 29, 2011

Massey Energy has received more than 80 citations for safety violations from federal investigators. The citations account for roughly half of those issued following special inspections in five states last month.

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Environmental Groups Plan to Sue Coal Company

by Gabe Bullard March 9, 2011

The groups say Bardstown-based Nally and Hamilton Enterprises committed 12,000 violations of federal law by filling out water permitting reports with inaccurate or repetitive information. The groups say they discovered the violations while reviewing state documents earlier this year.

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Federal Legislation to Expedite EPA Decisions Mirrors Governor’s Stance

by Gabe Bullard March 8, 2011

Congressman Hal Rogers filed the bill, which is similar to legislation introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in their chamber. The lawmakers say the EPA takes too long to approve or deny mining permits, and the delays may be an indirect method of rejecting permits.

Dick Brown with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says Rogers, Paul, McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear share a common frustration with the EPA.

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Upper Big Branch Mine Security Chief Indicted

by Gabe Bullard February 28, 2011

The first indictment has been issued in a criminal probe into last year’s explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine that left 29 coal miners dead.

The mine’s Chief of Security Hughie Stover has been accused of lying to investigators and trying to destroy mine records.

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