Posts Tagged 'water pollution'

New monitoring efforts to track water quality improvements in KY and 11 other states

A task force of federal and state officials announced Wednesday two new efforts to monitor water quality through reductions in nutrients in Kentucky and 11 other states flowing from farms and other sources into local waterways that reach the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient (Hypoxia) Task Force, which began in 1997, set up the Mississippi River Monitoring Collaborative to analyze data from the states to see which conservation practices are working and where “new strategies” are needed, according to a news release.

The monitoring efforts will specifically track nitrogen and phosphorus throughout the watershed, according to the release.

Nutrient runoff from agricultural, urban and industrial sources has polluted waterways for decades and contributed to a hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico – an area of low oxygen that is largely uninhabitable by fish and other marine life, the release said.

The Task Force consists of five federal agencies, 12 states and the tribes within the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin.  For more information, visit


Environmental groups, paddlers challenge Kentucky mining permit


Here’s the press release:

ELKHORN CITY, KY The Sierra Club, Appalachian Citizens Law Center and Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, joined by outdoor enthusiasts and paddlers, are challenging a permit submitted by Cambrian Coal Corporation that would allow for a new surface coal mine near Elkhorn Creek in Pike County. Cambrian Coal proposes to discharge mining waste into tributaries of Elkhorn Creek, Marrowbone Creek and Pond Creek, all of which run into Russell Fork, a major destination for many paddlers.

“For the past 7 years, I have participated in the Russell Fork Whitewater Rendezvous,” said Bill Pierskalla, a Sierra Club member and whitewater paddler. “If the proposed mine goes forward, I am concerned that people like myself will stop visiting Elkhorn City and paddling Russell Fork out of concern that the mining has polluted the water beyond safe limits.”

According to the groups, the 791-acre Cambrian Coal surface mine would severely jeopardize creek quality as well as land preservation, making recreational use of the area a less attractive option for tourists.

Aquatic biologist, local resident James Stapleton said, “I grew up along Elkhorn Creek, Ive hiked and fished in that area for years. As a child I used to swim in the creek, but now I am concerned that surface mining in this area has started to degrade the water to an unsafe level.”

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new water conductivity standards in order to protect water and the health of surrounding communities. Water testing downstream of Cambrians existing mines in the area has found the water to be far above EPAs conductivity standards.

“I see no way this proposed mining operation could meet the requirements of the recent EPA guidance concerning conductivity. Already the area is above the recommended federal clean water standards,” said Rick Clewett of the Cumberland Sierra Club. “We should not be adding pollution to the area but cleaning it up. Additional mining could potentially eliminate the prospects for that community being able to succeed in their current efforts to develop and expand an economy based on water recreation and fishing.”

“Water is the back bone of our economy here in Elkhorn City. And at the end of the day, we need people to keep visiting our area to recreate and support our local businesses,” said Stapleton.

The Sierra Club is now taking legal action against Cambrian Coal to ensure that the affected waterways and community are protected from mine pollution. Attorney Mary Cromer with Appalachian Citizens Law Center is representing the Sierra Club.

Sierra Club tries to block coal-fired plant near Louisville

The Sierra Club is trying to stop Louisville Gas & Electric’s proposed addition to a coal-fired generating plant at the Trimble County Generation station near Louisville by blocking the company’s permit from the state Division of Water.

A hearing on the permit will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Morgan Community Center, 147 Victory Ave, Bedford, KY . That’s the same day as a day-long forum on coal at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

For more about the Sierra Club effort, go to: