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Report: No Rules Prevent Kentucky Coal Plants from Dumping Pollutants into Waterways

A report released by a coalition of environmental and clean water groups says twenty coal-fired power plants in Kentucky are discharging toxic metals into nearby waterways.

The report is called “Closing the Floodgates”, and was authored by the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, the Environmental Integrity Project, EarthJustice, and WaterKeeper Alliance.

The report points out coal plants are under no requirement to monitor or report discharges of toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, and selenium.

You can see the full report here.

Sierra Club organizer for the western Kentucky region Thomas Pearce says his group and others want the Environmental Protection Agency to start enforcing tough new standards for coal-fired power plants.

Pearce says under current rules, coal plant operators don't even feel like they have to hide what they're doing.

"LG&E and Kentucky Utilities have admitted that they are leaking into the Ohio River," Pearce said. "That's not disputed. They say they do it because it's legal."

Some of coal plants mentioned in the report are the Daviess County facility operated by Owensboro Municipal Utilties; a plant in Pulaski County run by East Kentucky Power Cooperative; and the T-V-A’s Paradise plant in Muhlenberg County

Critics of tougher standards for coal plants, including Kentucky U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, say Congress should make such rules, not the EPA.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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