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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

KY plastics plant ranks in nation's top ten emitters of chlorine

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   

A western Kentucky plastics plant is among the top 10 emitters of chlorine air pollution, according to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project.

The Calvert City plant is owned by the Westlake corporation and manufactures ethylene, a primary ingredient used to make plastics, along with polyvinyl chloride.

Alexandra Shaykevich, research manager for the Environmental Integrity Project, said the plant has been scrutinized by federal regulators for environmental violations. Air monitors around the plant in Calvert city found elevated levels of harmful volatile organic compounds.

"According to EPA data, they were penalized with over $2 million in penalties between October 2020, and September 2023, as a result of violations under the Clean Air Act," Shaykevich pointed out.

According to the report, at least 10 new plastic plants and 23 expansion projects at existing facilities have been proposed nationwide, including in Kentucky. Companies producing plastics emitted nearly 63 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, about as much as fifteen coal-fired power plants.

The toxic chemicals emitted during plastics production have been linked to cancer, asthma and bronchitis.

Shaykevich noted communities living near the plant are bearing the brunt of the pollution.

"They did find an elevated cancer risk for communities living within close proximity to that plant," Shaykevich emphasized. "That's very concerning, I'm sure for the folks that are living downwind from the Westlake facility and Calvert City."

Nationwide, more than 66% of the people living within three miles of the factories manufacturing the main ingredients in plastic products are people of color. Around 8% of the plants cited in the report had violated air pollution control permits over the last three years.


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