Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 14, 2013

Plant hearing draws crowd

150 signed up to speak to commission

LOUISA — A hearing for comments about a proposal to allow Kentucky Power to buy a 50-percent interest in a coal-fired power plant in Mitchell in Moundsville, W.V. as part of a plan to close the Big Sandy power plant in Lawrence County drew an often angry-sounding crowd to the community center in Louisa Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for the Public Service Commission said 150 people signed up to speak, although many seemed to have left by the time commissioners Jim Garland and Linda Breathitt arrived an hour later. During the first hour, Public Service Commission communications director Andrew Melnykovych explained the hearing was for comments only, and would not be a forum for questions and answers, and himself fielded several questions about the hearing process.

Ron Robinson of Kentucky Power did attempt to answer some questions, although he made it clear he did not have answers for some of the things being asked. In response to one question, Robinson said the average residential electric bill in Kentucky is $94 per month, earning him considerable criticism from others in the audience who clearly stated they did not believe the figure quoted to be accurate.

“That decision has far bigger ramifications than the case before you ...,” said State Rep Rocky Adkins, who pointed out Kentucky Power submitted a request for a certificate of need to place scrubbers on the Big Sandy plant to meet environmental regulations, “arguing that it was the least cost option for Kentucky rate payers,” but withdrew the request before the PSC could make a decision which might have allowed the Big Sandy plant to remain in operation. Adkins noted the Big Sandy plant and the Mitchell plant are of the same design, with similar age and operating costs. If allowed to purchase half of the interests at the Mitchell plant and close the Big Sandy plant, Adkins said Kentucky rate payers will be paying for jobs in West Virginia and paying taxes to government agencies in that state as well.

Adkins also questioned the numbers submitted by Kentucky Power, and asked the PSC to consider the economic impact of their decision.

“Abandoning Big Sandy Unit 2 will mean the loss of more than 150 full-time jobs at the plant,” Adkins said, adding the broader impact upon coal sales and severance taxes, with Lawrence County projected to lose $900,000 in annual taxes, including $500,000 for schools and $60,000 for the library system.

Mike Hogan, county attorney for Lawrence County, said losses from elimination of the Big Sandy plant would have urged the commissioners to reject the proposal, saying the effect on the county would be devastating, including the immediate loss of two deputies “in a county that has a epidemic of drug problems.”

“This loss is unsustainable,” Hogan said, noting the loss of tax revenue would also cut 10 teachers from the school system, a nurse from the health department and bond money to pay for library construction. “The people of Lawrence County and Louisa would never recover.”

Lawrence County Schools superintendent Mike Armstrong cited the loss of tax revenues for the schools system and asked the PSC or Kentucky Power to consider establishing a special electric rate for public schools.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News in brief, 07/31/14

    About 450 marijuana plants were confiscated during an eradication effort in Lawrence County on Tuesday.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731facelift1.JPG Painters finishing up work at ACTC

    When Ashland Community and Technical College students return to campus Aug. 18, they will find fresh paint, clean windows and pressure-washed brickwork on the college’s original building on College Drive.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Night Moves on tap for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairview school district being investigated

    State education investigators were scheduled to arrive in the Fairview school district this morning to interview school officials.

    July 30, 2014

  • Advisory committee on landfill to meet

    Members of the county’s new advisory committee regarding Big Run Landfill enforcement are encouraged to attend the group’s first meeting next week.
    Committee facilitator Mike Clevenger of Cannonsburg said the panel will meet the first Monday of each month, starting next week. For now, all meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Boyd County Community Center.

    July 30, 2014

  • Highway dedicated in Morehead man’s name

    During Wednesday morning’s highway dedication ceremony for late airman Daniel N. Fannin, 30, of Morehead, the man was honored as a Kentucky hero for dedicating his life to the U.S. Air Force until his untimely death last year.

    July 30, 2014

  • Stumbo questions Noah’s Ark incentives, backs off on expanded gambling

    Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo on Wednesday questioned the constitutionality of state incentives for a Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in Grant County.

    July 30, 2014

  • Night Moves for First Friday

    A chance to enjoy an evening run through the streets of Ashland will be among the things to do during the First Friday ArtWalk and Downtown Live for August in downtown Ashland from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.

    July 30, 2014

  • ‘Arts in the Vines’ will be in conjunction with U.S. 60 Yard Sale

    Offering a different taste of life in Carter County, the owners of RockSprings Winery are inviting locals and visitors to the U.S. 60 Yard Sale to spend some time in their vineyards during the first “Arts in the Vines” from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.

    July 30, 2014

  • Grimes zeroes in on women’s issues with latest ad

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is out with a third television ad posing questions from Grimes’ supporters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 30, 2014