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.

Text Only
Local News
  • Local briefs: 4/25/14

    The city’s annual Arbor Day tree seedling giveaway will take place from noon to 6 p.m. today, or until all seedlings are gone, whichever comes first, at Central Park.

    April 24, 2014

  • Grimes goes on attack over McConnell jobs comment

    Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is castigating incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for telling a Beattyville newspaper editor that it’s not his job to bring jobs to Lee County.

    April 24, 2014

  • City to seek proposals for floating restaurant

    The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday voted to advertise for proposals to locate a floating restaurant on the city’s riverfront.

    April 24, 2014

  • Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race

    After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.

    April 24, 2014

  • BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus

    April 24, 2014

  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone