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Beshears Tout Capitol Energy Saving Plan

By Tony McVeigh, Kentucky Public Radio

As Kentucky prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are touting energy conservation efforts at the State Capitol.

Gov. Beshear says improvements underway will reduce energy consumption by 22-percent, and save taxpayers $251,000 dollars a year.

“The work includes lighting upgrades, water conservation measures, vending machine controllers, optimization of the chiller plants performance, replacement of steam traps, various improvements at the mansion and electrical transformer replacement,” he said.

The work is being done at the Executive Mansion, the State Capitol and the Capitol Annex. Beshear says the $2.6 million project will be repaid through savings realized from reductions in utility costs.

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Environment Local News

Earth Day Celebrations Kick Off

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear used his weekly radio commentary this week to announce the state’s plans for “Earth Week.” That’s in honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, this Thursday, April 22nd.  Beshear says he’ll be making announcements about programs to promote energy efficiency, and holding events throughout the Bluegrass.

“Tree plantings and environmental information sessions will also be held at a variety of venues across the state during the week, combining education and action toward keeping Kentucky green.”

One announcement will be about Kentucky’s rebate program for energy efficient appliances.

On the web: Follow our ongoing Earth Day coverage – and all of our environmental coverage – at www.ohioriverradio.org.  There, you’ll find lists of events, blogs, and news about Earth Day.

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Environment Local News

Utility Company Urges Responsibility in Tree Planting

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and many organizations and individuals will plant trees to support the environment.  E.ON U.S. is among the organizations supporting such projects.  The utility is giving 75-thousand dollars in matching grants to groups that plant trees responsibly.  But officials are also asking that those who plant trees consider what they tree will look like years later. 

E.ON spokesperson Chris Whelan says a sapling may be small now, but if it’s an oak tree, it may be a problem for the company and electric customers when it’s fully grown.

“As we’ve seen during the wind storms, trees that get into power lines cause problems for us,” says Whelan.  “So by planting smaller trees such as dogwoods, or redbuds, in those areas that might reach our power lines, that is still getting trees, but putting the right tree in the right spot.”

She says planting large trees is welcome, but in spots that are best for the electrical instrastructure and the tree.

“You can grow an oak in an area that’s wide open, but we’d prefer that you grow a dogwood in an area that’s going to grow under our power lines,” says Whelan.  “So it’s creating a greater awareness of both the environment and being cognizant of what you plant and where you’re planting it.”

E.ON U.S. is the parent company of Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities.