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Concerns About Coal Ash Raised During LG&E Air Permit Hearing

Turnout was small at a hearing this afternoon to take public comments on a pending air pollution permit.Louisville Gas and Electric isseeking permits to install advanced pollution controls at its Mill Creek power plant in southwest Louisville. The company is taking the steps to comply with upcoming federal regulations that will limit the amount of pollution power plants can emit.Wallace McMullen of the Sierra Club’s local chapter was the only person to speak at the Air Pollution Control Board’s hearing. He applauded the reductions in emissions the pollution controls will bring, but raised another concern.“With the addition of these pollution controls, these coal-burning units may well operate for decades into the future,” he said. “They generate a large quantity of coal ash as they operate. And the permit notes that the amount of coal ash will increase with the new pollution controls.”Coal ash blowing off landfills has been a problem for residents living near the Mill Creek and Cane Run power plants. Cane Run is scheduled to stop burning coal in 2016, but the company has indicated it’s still profitable to use coal at the newer Mill Creek facility.McMullen urged the Air Pollution Control Board to require the company—in cooperation with the state Division of Waste Management—to present a plan for how it will handle coal ash at the Mill Creek site.