Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

February 11, 2011

Judge rules for environmentalists

ASHLAND — A Franklin Circuit Judge will allow several environmental groups and private citizens to intervene in a settlement reached between the state and two coal companies accused of submitting false water pollution discharge reports from mountaintop removal sites in southeastern Kentucky.

Judge Phillip Shepherds ruling came on the same day that environmentalists occupied the outer office of Gov. Steve Beshears office and forced a meeting with him at which they questioned the governor about support of the coal industry at what they say is the expense of clean, safe drinking water.

Shepherd ruled the environmentalists brought“good faith allegations that the current decree is inadequate to protect the public interests.”

An attorney for the environmental groups, Mary Cromer of the Appalachian Law Center in Whitesburg, hailed the ruling as a victory and said it will give her clients 90 days to make sure the agreement between the Cabinet for Energy and Environment and Frasure Creek and ICG coal companies are fair and adequate.

Dick Brown, spokesman for the Cabinet, said the cabinet is reviewing the ruling and“considering all our options,”declining further comment.

In October the environmentalists announced their intention to sue the companies under the federal Clean Water Act, claiming Frasure Creek and ICG Coal submitted false and fraudulent reports of pollutants discharged into streams from mining operations. Under provisions of the CWA, the state had 60 days to take action against the companies before the environmentalists could file their suit and it sought to enter a settlement with the coal companies in Franklin Circuit Court. That settlement said the Energy and Environment Cabinet investigated the claims and found 2,700 violations but termed them “transcription errors.” The settlement levied fines of $310,000 and $350,000. The environmentalists claimed they uncovered 20,000 violations with potential fines of up to $740 million.

Appalachian Voices, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Riverkeeper, Water Alliance and three private citizens sought to intervene in the settlement, contending the cabinet had ignored such violations for years and the settlement it agreed to with the coal companies was so inadequate it both failed to protect the public and encouraged coal companies to risk violations with the confidence they could settle with the state at small cost.

Text Only
Local News
  • In GOP South, pushback against Obama climate rules

    In the Republican-heavy Southeast, critics said Tuesday that a plan by President Barack Obama’s administration to cut pollution would raise electricity prices, result in job losses and may not significantly curtail the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

    July 29, 2014

  • AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss

    AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) on Tuesday reported a smaller loss in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.

    July 29, 2014

  • ambulance.jpg UPDATE: Major impact downtown in accident

    A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos