Sunday, November 19, 2000
Park protests possible pollution
Officials fear power plant would make Smokies smokier
The Associated Press
HINDMAN, Ky. Representatives of Great Smoky Mountains National Park worry that air pollution from a proposed power plant in Kentucky will increase the haze that's already reducing visibility there.
Environmental groups in Kentucky also have raised concerns that air pollution from such a plant would pose health risks to people and wildlife in the Appalachian Mountains and beyond.
But local residents say such fears need to be laid aside in the interest of jobs in the impoverished Appalachian region.
More than 100 people crowded into a room at the Hindman Hu man Services Center for a public hearing Thursday night to show their support for a proposal by Kentucky Mountain Power to build a $600 million power plant outside Hindman.
Information gathered at that hearing will be used by the Kentucky Division of Air Quality to decide whether to allow the company to begin construction on a 500-megawatt plant in Knott County that would burn waste coal that has been dumped in giant heaps across Appalachia.
The firm's parent company, EnviroPower of Lexington, has heralded the proposal as a means to clean up some 500 million tons of that waste.
This is a great opportunity for the mountains, said Hazard Mayor William Gorman.
We know that we need the jobs, said Knott County Judge-Executive Donnie Newsome.
But Jim Renfro, an air quality specialist for the Great Smoky Mountains, said the proposal should be looked at carefully for environmental harm,especially in the national park about 100 miles to the south.
We've reached the wall, he said. We can't tolerate any more increases in air pollutants.
Bob Miller, a spokesman for the park, said the proposal turns the coal waste from ground to air pollution that could do more harm to the environment.
Smog generated by the plant, coupled with acid rain, could aggravate the effects air pollution already is having in the park, Mr. Miller said.
It's going to have a discernable impact on visibility, he said. Visibility has declined by 40 percent in winter and 80 percent in summer since 1948. Our bluish mist is yellow or brown. It's air pollution.
Knott County Judge-executive Donnie Newsome said he thinks concerns about air pollution are being exaggerated.
It will help the environment by cleaning up all the waste material in the mountains, he said. It looks good to me, and we need the jobs.
John Tate, vice president of EnviroPower, said 50 to 70 people will operate the plant.
The proposed plant site, owned by mining giant Addington Enterprises, is at the convergence of Knott, Perry and Breathitt counties in southeastern Kentucky.
'Spirit' slogan touts area
Drugs found where suspect died
Arrest of unwilling suspect can be lethal
FreeStore braces for big holiday demand
PULFER: From loss, hope
Travel for Turkey Day has begun
Tombstones tell stories of life
BRONSON: TV gridlock
WORLD TRADE: Closed-door process needs change
WORLD TRADE: Policies help raise standards
Abused girl's death ruled a homicide
Complaints would go to bureau
CROWLEY: Unending story
CSX repair delays irk city official
Drug squad raising money
Gas cut-off got pro response
Internet threat imprisons man
Ky. troopers diversify, slowly
Local voters want fairness in election
New NATO role sought in Bosnia
Park protests possible pollution
Psychics see Bush as president
Rock climbers to help with dig
Theater group starts to take off
Kentucky News Briefs
Tristate A.M. Report