Coal and Water News

Northern Kentucky Loves Mountains

February 13, 2015 at 12:00pm

The Saturday following I Love Mountains Day, the Northern Kentucky chapter celebrated their own love for the mountains with Northern Kentucky Loves Mountains. Aimed at raising awareness about issues that impact Kentuckians from the Appalachian region, this event focused on the devastation of mountaintop removal and the need to re-imagine the possibilities in eastern Kentucky.

Westbound: Eastern Kentucky members’ eventful trip to Frankfort

February 12, 2015 at 06:00pm

The trip from the mountains to Frankfort can be difficult, but the KFTC van ride on I Love Mountains Day was one we will tell big tales about for years. Harlan “Tootie” Seals has been driving charter buses and vans for decades and even served a term as mayor of Fleming-Neon. So I was looking forward to an adventure. Little did I know…

It was cold and dark in Whitesburg when we met at 6:00 in the morning. The road to Cumberland that crosses Pine Mountain is difficult. When Tootie’s van crossed the mountain, I figured the rest of the trip  would be downhill, no problem. KFTC friends from Lynch, Benham, and Cumberland met us on the south side of the mountain as the sun was rising. On to Harlan, where the rest of our van riders joined us, then we headed for Frankfort.

Ky. voices: Beware of bad deals offered by oil, gas frackers

January 26, 2015
Lexington Herald-Leader
Madison County

Oil and gas "land men" offering rotten deals to Kentucky landowners, the author explains.

Environmental concerns raised as oil companies take fresh look at fracking in Kentucky

January 11, 2015
Lexington Herald-Leader

Oil and gas drilling companies have been leasing tens of thousands of acres in eastern and central Kentucky, anticipating a huge fracking boom.

Long-time KFTC leader Daymon Morgan remembered

December 14, 2014 at 11:05pm

Daymon Morgan, one of KFTC’s longest and best-known members, has died. He was 88 and had experienced a brief illness.

Daymon joined KFTC shortly after moving back to Kentucky in 1986. As he described in the book Making History: The First Ten Years of KFTC:

"I went into the Army when I was 18 year old. When I came out of the Army I bought a mountain farm in Leslie County. I moved to Ohio and worked for the Chrysler Corporation until 1986. We moved back to the farm. I bought a portable sawmill, a horse and some Mountain Cur hunting dogs. I spent most of my time cutting timber, sawing lumber, hunting with my dogs, farming and working with KFTC."

Daymon also found that a coal company was claiming the mineral under his land.

AG looking deeper into coal violations

December 3, 2014
CNHI

Despite publicly stating the opposite, state Energy and Environmental Cabinet officials could present no evidence that they have initiated any enforcement actions against Frasure Creek mining for repeated violations of the Clean Water Act.

Coal's costs keep adding up

November 30, 2014
Lexington Herald-Leader

How many more examples do we need of coal operators' lawlessness, aided and abetted by government apathy or impotence?

Big win: Judge rejects deals between Kentucky officials and coal company

November 24, 2014 at 09:26pm

The Franklin Circuit Court on Monday issued two long-awaited orders rejecting settlement deals between the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and Frasure Creek Mining arising from the coal company’s thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 through 2011.

In extraordinarily vigorous language, Judge Phillip Shepherd said that due to the coal company’s actions, “The inherent danger of the violations at issue here to the environment is impossible to determine based on Frasure Creek's wholesale abdication of its monitoring and reporting responsibilities, and the cabinet's inability to fully investigate the environmental harm that is likely to have occurred.”

“Since October 2010, we have been in the courts to see that the law be enforced in the state of Kentucky,” said Ted Withrow, a member of KFTC's Litigation Team. “These rulings by Judge Shepherd serve to enforce that right of the people."

In 2010, Appalachian Voices, Kentucky Waterkeeper Alliance, Kentucky Riverkeeper, KFTC and several individuals made public more than 20,000 violations of the Clean Water Act from 2008 to 2010 by Frasure Creek and a second coal company, International Coal Group (which later settled out of court). Under the law, these violations could be subject to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. On the 57th day, the cabinet and Frasure Creek entered a proposed consent agreement that included only 1,520 violations and combined fines of just $310,000.

Coal Mines Keep Operating Despite Injuries, Violations And Millions In Fines

November 12, 2014
National Public Radio

A joint investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that thousands of mine operators fail to pay safety penalties, even as they continue to manage dangerous — and sometimes deadly — mining operations. Most unpaid penalties are between two and 10 years overdue; some go back two decades. And federal regulators seem unable or unwilling to make mine owners pay.

A Scourge for Coal Miners Stages a Brutal Comeback

November 11, 2014
Environment 360

Another in a long line of studies showed conclusively that not only is black lung back, but that the worst form of the disease now affects a larger share of Appalachian coal miners than at any time since the early 1970s, shortly after a federal law meant to end the disease was passed.

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