Natural Resource

Black Lung = Disability and Death, So Why are Legislators Making this Issue so Complicated?

Black Lung = Disability and Death, So Why are Legislators Making this Issue so Complicated?

In this editorial piece, author Neil Kearns discusses a recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that highlights the precarious position miners and their estates find themselves in when seeking compensation under the amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA). Kearns questions Congress’ inaction and stresses the importance of legislators taking steps to improve the lives of those living in coal country.

The Grass isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side

For the first time in California’s history, Governor Jerry Brown has ordered a 25 percent cut in urban water usage. “People should realize we are in a new era.  The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past,” Brown remarked. The restrictions consists of not washing down sidewalks or driveways, recirculating water in fountains, and only serving water to customers per request at restaurants, among many other things. The mandatory water restrictions are the consequence of a drought that has harangued the Southwest for four consecutive years. 

Pipe Dream or Nightmare? Kentucky Residents Express Concerns over Gas Line Conversion Plans

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline has transported natural gas throughout eighteen Kentucky counties over the past seventy years.  Recently, Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners submitted a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to repurpose the pipeline and enable it to carry natural gas liquids. While it is uncertain if the proposal will even be approved, much debate exists regarding the environmental impact if the gas line is converted.  

Tapping Into Our Resources: Using Kentucky’s Abundant Wildlife Resources to the Advantage of the Disadvantaged

During the most recent session of Kentucky’s General Assembly, Kentucky Senators, Robin L. Webb and C.B. Embry Jr., introduced SB 55. This bipartisan bill will create a new section of KRS Chapter 217 that prohibits state and local governments from restricting, but not regulating, the donation of game meat to or from not-for-profit organizations for the purpose of free meal distribution.

An Oasis in the Desert: Tunisia’s Solar Plants will Quench Europe’s Energy Thirst

Nur Energy, a Tunisian company, plans on harnessing solar energy in the Sahara Desert, one of the largest deserts in the world.  With a global depletion of natural resources, energy scientists and companies have begun to utilize alternate forms of energy. Raw forms of energy, like solar energy from the sun, have become increasingly popular. Solar energy is inexpensive and in many places, like the Sahara Desert, is readily available for use. The Sahara, with its vast desert plains and almost constant sunlight proves to be a great place for multiple solar plants. The intense radiation from the constant, incoming rays along the Sahara, especially in Tunisia, can prove to be a major solution to this negative dependency on fossil fuels.

Bees and the Controversial Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

The recent upsurge in mass numbers of unexplained bee deaths has stirred debate over what could be causing these incidents around the globe. Some scientists now believe that a specific class of pesticides called neonicotinoids might be to blame. Last December, the European Union enacted a two-year ban on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides in response to the European Food Safety Authority’s report that stated that neonicotinoids pose “high acute risks” to pollinators, likes bees. The U.S. currently has no such ban in place. However, the EPA has expressed similar apprehension over the insecticide’s long-term effects, and certain U.S. cities are currently considering instituting local bans. 

Louisville Will Soon See an End of Plastic Bag Usage for Yard Waste Collection

While California is “executing the nation’s first statewide prohibition against grocery stores providing single-use plastic bags,” Jefferson County, Kentucky has adopted a regulation banning the use of most plastic bags for yard waste collection as a means of addressing litter and landfill concerns. On Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 the Louisville and Jefferson County Metro Government Waste Management District’s board voted unanimously (4–0) to approve a regulation banning most plastic bags for yard waste collection. The resolution approved by the waste management board adopted Yard Waste Container Regulation 51.507R, which states, “Containers for the collection of yard waste shall meet the requirements of LMCO Chapter 51.507. As an alternative yard waste may be set out in paper yard waste bags or certified compostable bags meeting ASTM D6400 standards.” In an effort to educate citizens before the regulation becomes effective on January 1, 2015, the Louisville Public Works website provides essential information including the types of acceptable containers, how yard waste will be collected, and links to other useful resources on the subject.

A Win for Workers: The EPA’s Duty to Consider Impacts on Coal Industry’s Employment

Murray Energy Corporation, along with eleven of its subsidiaries located in Kentucky, Illinois, West Virginia, Utah, and Pennsylvania, filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March, arguing that the EPA has undergone a “war on coal” by increasing regulation of coal production. Recently, the EPA’s motion to dismiss the suit was denied, allowing Murray’s claim to proceed. The Clean Air Act (CAA) allows industry to file suit against the EPA when the challenging industry can allege the EPA failed “to perform any act or duty under [the CAA] which is not discretionary.” Murray claims the EPA failed to fulfill Section 321, which requires the agency to consider regulations’ effects on industry jobs.