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The coal ash pile at Louisville Gas & Electric's Cane Run plant pictured above is located in a residential area and has been the source of toxic ash blowing onto nearby homes. It's one of the concerns being addressed by the KFTC Jefferson County chapter's Air Quality Team.
Kentucky is fifth in the nation is coal ash generation. A 2011 study by Earthjustice found that Kentucky had 43 operating coal ash disposal sites, 21 of which exceed a height of 25 feet or impound more than 500 acre‐feet of ash. Professional engineers did not design 20 of the state’s 43 dams nor did they oversee construction of 27 of them.
For years, KFTC members have been working to eliminate public exposure to toxic coal ash. This includes leakage from coal ash lagoons and the blowing of ash onto neighboring houses.
It’s a major problem in Kentucky because of our unhealthy dependence on burning coal for electricity, with arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, boron among the dangerous chemicals found in pollution from the more than 40 coal ash disposal sites in Kentucky. A 2010 report co-authored by the Kentucky Waterways Alliance found:
“Every day in Kentucky, ponds and landfills leak into our groundwater and rivers, seeping out a slow-motion flood of contamination … every site in Kentucky for which groundwater data was available appears to be leaking. Kentucky is failing to control coal combustion waste contamination.”
This is a big election year in Kentucky – with millions of dollars from outside the state trying to influence the outcomes and the eyes of the nation waiting for the results.
As Kentuckians, we have the opportunity to vote for candidates in a wide range of federal, state and local races on November 4. The outcomes will affect much that happens in our communities, state, nation and world in the years ahead.