OPPOSITION: Sierra Club, Valley Watch, National Parks Conservation Association, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Kentucky Environmental Foundation
BACKGROUND: In 2001, Peabody Energy applied for an air permit to operate two 750-MW pulverized coal-burning plants at their Thoroughbred Campus in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. The plant was designed to burn Western Kentucky high-sulfur coal from an adjacent mine and would have created hundreds of jobs. At peak construction, the plant would have employed over 1,000 workers and would have permanently employed hundreds more. It would have also supported several hundred coal-mining jobs.
The State issued a permit in 2002. The Sierra Club and others appealed.
In 2005, a Division of Air Quality hearing officer upheld the appeal and remanded the permit. However, this decision was overturned in April 2006 by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary, and the permit was reissued. In October, Sierra Club and others filed a petition with the U.S. EPA, calling for the agency to require Peabody to slash its emissions, and sued to void the permit in State court.
EPA did not grant the requested relief. However, on August 6th, 2007 Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin Circuit Court remanded the permit to the agency. On August 23, the State appealed.
On September, 19, 2008, the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court and reinstated the permit. Sierra Club and others appealed to the State Supreme Court. However, on December 18 Peabody Energy withdrew its permit application, announcing instead that Peabody and its partner ConocoPhillips would seek a permit for a coal-to-gas plant at the same location.
LAST UPDATED: November 18, 2010