Regulators Will Hold Meeting on Proposed LG&E Trimble County Coal Ash Landfill This Week
Louisville Gas and Electric has filed another application to construct a coal ash landfill at the company’s Trimble County power plant, and state regulators are holding a public meeting this week.Originally, LG&E proposed a 218 acre landfill on property near the company’s power plant in Trimble County. The landfill would hold coal ash, which is a byproduct of burning coal. But last year, the Kentucky Division of Waste Management denied the permit due to regulators’ concerns about a cave on the property.Now, LG&E has proposed a new landfill, in a spot that won’t affect the cave. It’s slightly smaller—189 acres—and will also be on property the company owns in Trimble County.But Tim Joice of Kentucky Waterways Alliance said his group still has major concerns about the landfill…like the miles of streams it would affect, and the possibility of a massive coal ash spill.“These are all different things, of course,” Joice said. “But generally they go back to the same fundamental problem and that is the fact that state agencies are not doing their job, and industries are not doing their job. They are not maintaining their facilities, ensuring these things are going to fully protect human health and water quality.”Joice said he would like to see regulators ask what alternatives LG&E has considered to constructing a new landfill. And in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent conclusion that coal ash can be safely used in some building products, whether the company has explored recycling more of the ash.LG&E spokeswoman Liz Pratt said the new plan is the company’s best option for disposing of coal ash on the site.“Our objective is to balance environmental requirements and at the same time also maintain our responsibility to safely and reliably meet our customers’ energy needs in the most reliable and cost-effective manner,” she said.She also said the landfill will comply with the EPA's coal ash regulations,which are expected to be finalized in December.In a follow-up email, Pratt reiterated the company’s finding that the Trimble County landfill is the best option for the site’s coal ash, though she didn’t elaborate on what other alternatives the company considered. But in February 2012, then-LG&E spokesman Chip Keeling told me the company could always truck the ash to Louisville.