Herald-Leader OpEd's: Trapp & Global Energy

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Herald-Leader OpEd's: Trapp & Global Energy  Posted: August 30, 2003

Talking trash *Fletcher's clean coal technology a bust in Clark*

In two KET appearances, U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher, the Republican candidate for governor, was either confused or fibbing about House-passed energy legislation's upward effect on Kentucky electricity prices.

But Fletcher, who supported the House energy bill that's now in conference committee, was confident when he said its generous new incentives for "clean coal technology" would be great for Kentucky.

In Clark County, he would find plenty of room for debate about that.

A plan to import up to a million tons of processed municipal garbage a year from New York and New Jersey, to be mixed with coal and gasified to produce electricity, has the backing of the U.S. Department of Energy and $78 million in "clean coal technology" money.

The taxpayers' $78 million is about all the unproven technology has going for it. The project has yet to win necessary private financing.

Rather than wait for something that might never happen, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, which has a contract to buy the garbage plant's power, started building a new coal-fired generator of its own in Mason County. So any electricity that would be produced with New York's garbage is no longer needed to keep anyone's lights on in Kentucky.

We suspect that elected officials and many residents of Clark County would tell their counterparts around the state that the last thing Kentucky needs is more clean coal schemes such as the one they've been battling.

The worst travesty, though, is being committed by the Democratic administration of Gov. Paul Patton.

It's going to court to challenge a hearing officer's finding that the state's solid-waste law applies to the trainloads of solid waste that would be imported to fuel the gasification plant.

You read that right.

The coal-friendly Patton administration is spending taxpayers' money to argue that because the stuff's going to a power plant and not a landfill, up to a million tons a year of out-of-state processed municipal waste (equal to half of the garbage produced in all of Kentucky in a year) can be hauled to the banks of the Kentucky River -- just above Lexington's and Winchester's water plants -- without having to comply with any of the state's laws on solid waste management.

Be glad private investors are spurning this and other similarly lame clean coal technologies. Because Kentucky's top politicians, bowing to King Coal, would shove them one and all right down our throats.


Posted on Fri, Aug. 29, 2003 No zoning approval, no hearing on plant permit

Despite a load of high voltage gibberish from the company that wants to build a garbage-to-power plant in Clark County, one thing comes through clear: Global Energy is trying to evade the state's merchant-power law.

The siting board must not flinch in the face of the company's dissembling, or the law will be made a mockery, and Kentucky communities will be at the mercy of power merchants who wouldn't hesitate to use this state as their energy colony.

At issue is the requirement that merchant power generators meet local planning and zoning requirements. At first, Kentucky Pioneer Energy, a subsidiary of Global Energy, argued that its project was exempt from this requirement. When the siting board shot that down, the company said, OK, now we're in compliance.

Problem is the company hasn't even applied for the necessary zoning, much less complied with local requirements. The site where it wants to build a power plant is zoned agricultural.

When pressed at last week's siting board hearing, Mike Musulin, Kentucky Pioneer's president, explained that when the company told the board it had complied with planning and zoning requirements, it was simply trying to convey a "willingness to comply."

Global is urging the siting board to issue a conditional construction permit.

We have no idea what Global is up to. But if its performance so far is supposed to exhibit a "willingness to comply," we'd hate to see its idea of resistance.

The siting board shouldn't even consider issuing a permit until the company has the required zoning in hand.







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