Written by Andy McDonald for KYNews.org. Find the original story here.
First it was the anti-discrimination ordinance. Now it is the local initiative to have the city of Berea voice opposition to hydraulic fracking in southern Madison County.
Once again, Diane Kerby is stepping up to take the lead on an issue that’s not without some controversy. At the end of last week’s meeting before the Berea City Council, Kerby requested to have an item added to next week’s agenda.
Kerby is urging the city to draft an ordinance that would strongly state the city’s opposition to oil exploration in the area through the use of fracking, a practice the Kentucky Environmental Foundation has declared to be a threat to water, soil and air quality in Red Lick and other areas. Local environmental advocate Craig Williams provided a template for the ordinance.
Article written by Kelley Davidson for Occupy.com. Find the original story here.
Energy companies are quietly scrambling to lease mineral rights from Eastern Kentuckian landowners, but this time they’re not after coal.
Buried two miles under Central and Eastern Kentucky lies the Rogersville Shale, a vast reservoir of shale oil and natural gas. Because of its immense depth, Rogersville Shale was previously unreachable, though energy companies have recently revived interest in tapping that resource through fracking.
But in Berea, Kentucky, an artsy small town 20 minutes south of Lexington, citizens have been spreading awareness about the health and environmental devastation caused by fracking, and a movement to resist the companies' plans is building.
Article written and published by the Citizen Voice and Times. Find the original story here.
An estimated 400 people, including several from Estill County, attended an informational meeting about hydraulic fracturing in Berea last Tuesday night, January 27. The event was organized with the intent to educate the public about fracking and to offer people opportunities to ask questions.
Bill Hughes, from Wetzel County, West Virginia, was one of the speakers. He has extensively documented the process of fracking in his home county.
Story by Michaela Ballard for the Richmond Register. Find the original article here.
The walls of the Acton Folk Center were lined with people without room to sit Tuesday night during the first Frack Free Foothills community forum.
The group was formed after energy companies began approaching landowners of the Red Lick and Clear Creek areas seeking to lease mineral rights for hydraulic fracturing.
Those in attendance had many questions for speakers Bill Hughes of Wetzel County, W.Va., and Tom Fitzgerald of the Kentucky Resources Council.
Story by Josh James for WUKY. Find the original article here.
A coalition of groups and individuals concerned about the effect fracking could have in Kentucky is gathering Tuesday night in Berea.
With oil and gas companies taking a new look at regions of the state previously untouched by exploration, environmental groups are gearing up for a fight. Activist Craig Williams is with Frack Free Foothills.
Story written by Andy McDonald and originally published in the Richmond Register. Find the original article here.
Environmental activist Craig Williams urged the city of Berea to go on record Tuesday in opposition to hydraulic fracturing in the Berea area. The controversial method of extracting oil and gas from deep shale beds could potentially degrade the water, air and soil in all of Madison County, he said.
The same request will be presented to the Madison Fiscal Court and the Richmond City Commission, Williams added.
“Needless to say, there are countless people who are concerned about having this sort of exploration and drilling occur in this region,” he said, addressing the council on behalf of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF).
Generally, decision-making around power plants is impacted by many factors. New environmental policies, like stricter regulations for air, water and waste, are reducing the viability of older coal plants. At the same time, energy portfolios are rapidly shifting away from coal to other generation resources such as natural gas, renewable energy, and investments in energy efficiency. Most utility decisions are driven by economics and policies, while little emphasis is placed on one of the most basic impacts on the community: public health.
In order to determine the public health impacts of operating or retiring an older coal plant, KEF conducted a Health Impacts Assessment (HIA) around TVA’s Shawnee plant. The Shawnee HIA identifies the myriad of public health impacts that would arise if TVA upgrades Shawnee with modern pollution controls or if TVA retires the entire Shawnee coal plant. These impacts range from physical health impacts to economic impacts that affect a community’s access to health care and jobs that provide health insurance. Industrial jobs have been a mainstay in western Kentucky and retiring Shawnee could potentially put a strain on area workers who have depended on the work for maintaining income for food and housing. At the same time, coal power plant emissions have contributed to the region’s poor air and water quality, potentially affecting increased rates of asthma and cardiac health concerns, and compromising water resources that threaten public health and aquatic ecosystems. Retrofitting the plant would extend the life of the aging facility but the question continues to remain: at what expense?
HIAs can be useful for many different areas of decision-making. As Paducah and McCracken County residents and leaders consider next steps around jobs and industry, the HIA will be an important tool for helping them think about the future. HIAs are a great way to use health data in a real life setting—including issues such as economics, jobs, education and healthcare—in a manner that ensures public health is considered in policy development. The HIA process, which strongly relied on the participation and leadership of community members, is intended to support TVA as well as local leaders make health-informed choices when it comes to the future of their power plants. As for shifts in industrial options, community and economic development leaders can work to ensure that new industries invited into the area, follow standard health and safety guidelines and provide sufficient wages for the workers. Making health a priority is good for business and good for the community.
TVA is accepting comments and suggestions from the public as it works to shape its 20 year energy plan, known as the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), as well as for the specific decision around retrofit or retirement scenarios of two units at the plant. TVA is scheduled to release a draft IRP in the first part of 2015. They also expect to release a draft environmental assessment for public comment in mid-December on the decisions for Shawnee Units 1 and 4. Please stay tuned to learn more about how you can weigh in on the future of the Shawnee coal plant and TVA’s energy future!
See more at: http://blog.cleanenergy.org/2014/11/20/kentucky-group-studies-health-effects-of-aging-tva-coal-plant/#more-51773
Article written by Allison Crawford for WKMS. Find the original story here.
The Kentucky Environmental Foundation is awaiting final review before releasing their Health Impact Assessment for western Kentucky’s Shawnee Fossil Plant.
The study is part of the Health Impact Project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts to model ways to assess health in non-traditional health fields. Foundation Health Coordinator Deborah Payne says the work focuses on energy and economy and was shaped by the communities the plant impacts.
Check out this clip from KET's Kentucky Tonight program on Energy Policy, featuring KEF Director Heather Warman.
KEF in the News
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