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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Critics: KY regional haze plan doesn’t protect environmental, public health

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024   

Under the federal Clean Air Act, Kentucky is required to keep haze air pollution under control in Mammoth Cave National Park.

Critics said the state's current plan falls short. Coal-fired power plants are the driving cause of air pollution impairing visibility in the Commonwealth, according to the National Parks Conservation Association.

Ashley Wilmes, executive director of the Kentucky Resources Council, said the state's current Draft Regional Haze State Implementation Plan only considers two facilities as significant pollution emitters, despite evidence there are more.

"There has to be a detailed analysis of additional major polluters in Kentucky that are contributing to this haze," Wilmes asserted. "They did not do this analysis for other major coal plants, including Ghent and Mill Creek, Trimble Station and others."

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet hears virtual public comments on the plan tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.

Ulla Reeves, clean air program director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said several major polluters in the region are contributing to poor air quality.

"We see in Kentucky that Mammoth Cave is actually one of the most polluted national parks in the entire country," Reeves pointed out. "It is surrounded by polluting facilities."

Bryon Gary, program attorney for the council, said advocates are asking the state to include additional pollutants and facilities, and address environmental justice impacts to surrounding communities. He added residents' input will be considered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"The public will have the opportunity to give those comments," Gary noted. "Then at some later point, the Energy Environment Cabinet will develop a written response to comments that will be submitted to EPA, along with their final state implementation plan."

Exposure to the air pollution particles triggering haze can cause breathing problems, lung cancer, heart attacks and low birth weight in newborn babies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Disclosure: Kentucky Solar Energy Society and Kentucky Resources Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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