At the request of the Beshear administration, the Environmental Protection Agency will conduct public hearings Tuesday and Thursday this week in Frankfort and Pikeville concerning the federal agency’s objections to 36 coal mining permits, citing the health and environmental risks of pollutants discharged into nearby streams.
Both Frankfort and Pikeville are expected to be swarmed with environmentalists speaking out in favor of the EPA’s actions, and coal company employees denouncing them.
The Frankfort EPA hearing will be Tuesday from 7-11 p.m. at the Frankfort Convention Center, and the Pikeville hearing will be Thursday from noon-4 pm, and again from 7-11 p.m. Those wishing to register to speak in advance can do so here, or call 703-577-4953. On-site registration will begin one hour prior to the beginning of each hearing.
As if these hearings won’t be heated enough, there will be competing rallies next to the convention center prior to the Frankfort hearing.
The Kentucky Coal Association will hold a rally between the convention center and the Capitol Plaza Hotel beginning at 5 p.m. featuring “elected officials, pro-coal advocates and invited guests” to “speak about the dangers of the EPA’s actions to Kentucky jobs.” Coal Mining Our Future — an association of coal companies in Eastern Kentucky — will be busing in people from Perry County Central High School for both days, including their pre-hearing rally in Pikeville at 4:30 p.m.
Various environmental groups — including the Sierra Club, KFTC and Appalachian Voices — will hold a rally in Frankfort at 6 p.m. Tuesday inside the Capitol Plaza Hotel featuring Sen. Kathy Stein and physicians speaking out about the health impacts of coal mining.
In the EPA’s objection letters to the 36 permits, they found that the Kentucky Division of Water failed to do a proper analysis of the potential impact that mining operations could have on water quality standards. Environmental groups welcome the actions of the EPA under the federal Clean Water Act, accusing the Beshear administration of rubber-stamping permits without regard to health, water quality, or proper regulation of the industry.
And to them — perhaps in person tomorrow in Frankfort — Steve Beshear says…