Monday Afternoon Press Conference Time Wasters

We’re at the Conway presser this afternoon recording the entire thing. Dirty Joe Sonka spent the afternoon at our super-secret hidey hole and is joining us at the event. So while we work on that (probably shaky) video, here are some time wasting stories for you to enjoy.

Oh, and congrats to Rep. Mary Lou Marzian for finally becoming an old grandmother! Maya Marzian Derricks was born at 7:30 on Saturday evening. Mary Lou would be– hands-down– the best meemaw ever. Can’t wait to see her out and about with the baby.

As Joe pointed out earlier today, there are some fancy new numbers for people like Kim Geveden to cry over. All people hate San Francisco, New York City, France, and Old Yerp, right? RIGHT? [Research 2000 Poll]

The election fraud mess in Clay County has stirred all kinds of public disgust. [H-L]

In support and memory of our nation’s prisoners of war and those missing in action, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is flying POW/MIA flags at rest areas and welcome centers in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Flags will be raised at 24 rest areas and welcome centers at 10:15 A.M. EDT and 9:00 A.M. CDT throughout Kentucky on April 15th. Press conferences will be held in Simpson Co (I-65 NB), Scott Co (I-75 SB), Shelby Co (I-64 EB), McCracken Co (I-24 EB) and Whitley Co (I-75 NB). [Press Release]

Did you know Greg Stumbo has no pull in eastern Kentucky? That’s why he was able to, oh, I dunno, force a guy out of office so he could take his seat. But he has no pull in eastern Kentucky. At all. End of story. HAHAHA. [Barefoot & Progressive]

Noted historian and author John David Smith, the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina—Charlotte, will present “Historical Memory and the Meaning of Slavery Today” at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, at the Louisville Free Public Library, located on York Street. His presentation is sponsored by the Kentucky Historical Society and the University of Louisville. [Press Release]

Do you know where 42-year-old Gerald Jones of Berea may be? He’s wanted on a 14-count indictment with charges that include child pornography, drugs and weapons. An arrest warrant has been issued. Jones was last seen in a white, mid-sized pickup truck. If you have information? Contact the Office of the Attorney General Department of Criminal Investigations at (866) 524-3672. [KY OAG]

Here’s a photo of Jones:

Corbin city government spent almost $20,000 on tickets to a Montgomery Gentry show during a new expo center’s opening night. $20,000! Really. [H-L]“Mongiardo the Quiet Homophobe.” Heh. [LEO’s Fat Lip]

An Interview with Jack Conway for U.S. Senate

Early this morning we sat down with Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for a lengthy discussion about his priorities and his campaign for the United States Senate. We didn’t throw him softballs and we didn’t let him off the hook. While we don’t have time to publish the interview in its entirety, we figure it’s prudent to share just a bit of the highlights.

Oh, suffice it to say: Jack Conway is way more well-versed on topics like energy, coal, equality (not just the gays), campaign finance reform, taxes and education than we’ve ever given him credit for. We weren’t expecting to be impressed today, as we already know Jack, but we were. And we’re glad to see him in the race.

Without further ado…

Question: Coal is obviously important to Kentucky’s economy, but where do you stand on the destructive practice of Mountaintop Removal?

Answer: Coal is an important part of our energy future, there’s no doubt about it.

But it has to be responsibly mined. Most of the coal operators I’ve talked to went to want to mine responsibly. We have to take the safety of the miner and the environment into consideration and we need to mine coal in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. In doing so, we can protect coal jobs, the energy industry as far as coal is concerned and prevent serious environmental impacts. All issues need to be looked out for.

On a related note, Conway shared a deep story about a cousin who was a coal miner in Union County. So he knows way more than we were expecting. He’s not an anti-coal hack as some have alleged.

Read the rest of our interview with Jack Conway after the jump. Questions about discrimination, the economy, Jim Bunning and more…

Read moreAn Interview with Jack Conway for U.S. Senate

Monday Evening Yadda Yadda For You

Don’t forget to tune in to Kentucky Tonight this evening at 8:00 P.M. Eastern on KET. David Edmunds, Tim Moore, Kathy Stein and Chris Hartman will all debate Senate Hate Bill 68 for an hour. Hell hath no fury like a homo scorned. Or Kathy Stein. Watch the fireworks! [KET Reminder]

Remember that mining disaster in Leslie County? The one spewing water at 10,000 gallons per minute? Turns out it’s 24,000 gallons per minute. Officials are still uncertain how much water remains in the mine or how much damage has been done to the environment. [Press Release]

Commie GOP leader Brad Cummings (R-Homosexual Sympathizer) is actually a heathen gambler. [Paulick Report]

Mitch McConnell says that mean Binack Rabama is turning America into France! [FireDogLake]

The Kentucky Cattlemen Association is upset over new FDA regulations. Is this good or bad? [News-Enterprise]

Ruh ro. Republicans aren’t happy with David Williams love of Greg Stumbo. [David Adams]

Daniel Solzman is upset about the Mongiardo Campaign’s email list, which he says is spamming him. [Solzy]

Leland Conway, in his diatribe against Daniel Mongiardo, says race had nothing to do with Barack Obama’s loss in Kentucky. Despite the 21% of Kentucky DEMOCRATS who admitted to voting against him on the basis of race during the primary. We can think of 20 or 30 reasons to attack Mongiardo but Conway can’t come up with anything but crackpot Rush Limbaugh horse crap. Just how disconnected from reality is this guy? [Leland Conway]

Only 20 people came out to see Mongiardo in Corbin– an area allegedly in his back pocket. Mongiardo says he lost in 2004 because no one in western Kentucky knew who he was– not because of the anti-gay crowd he drew out against himself. [Times Tribune]

Army Corps in Hot Water Over New Mine Permit

Isn’t it awesome that the Army Corps of Engineers reissued a controversial mining permit to ICG for its Thunder Ridge mine in Leslie County just hours after the Environmental Protection Agency decided to reevaluate mountaintop removal sites in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia?

The permit in question was halted late last year after the Kentucky Water Ways Alliance (and the Sierra Club) sued the Corps over its decision to issue the permit based on its belief that they had not sufficiently considered cumulative water quality impacts of the planned mining. After ICG agreed to reduce the number of valley fills from five to four, the permit was reinstated. The new permit increases the operation by 22%, from 5.5 square miles to 6.9 square miles.

That’s right– we said water quality impacts. All this went down just hours before a major mine blowout in Leslie County, which we told you about earlier.

“The Thunder Ridge mine site is exactly the type of mining operation the EPA signaled they were concerned about this week. It’s inexcusable for the Louisville Corp office to reissue this permit after EPA’s recent action,” said Judith Peteresen, executive director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance. She’s right. The Corps has been challenged over and over through the years for failing to thoroughly evaluate the environmental impact of mountaintop removal. And while ICG reduced its footprint for new valley fills, there’s no evidence that the Corps evaluated the water quality impacts of expanding the Thunder Ridge mine– a mine that was already unusually large.

According to a press release from Kentucky Waterways Alliance, the Army Corps of Engineers admitted that it had no recent dialogue with the EPA over water quality issues with the reinstated ICG permit and that the EPA had raised no concerns in December 2007 when the original permit was issued. But EPA officials were in Louisville last week to discuss concerns regarding mining permits and were caught off-guard by the ICG permit issuance.

KWA’s press release said the organization has contacted the Obama administration and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to request an examination of the process used by the Army Corps in evaluating water quality impacts of the ICG permit. “I hope President Obama follows through with his promise to find better ways of mining coal than by blowing the tops of our nation’s mountains, destroying streams and polluting our waterways in the process,” said Peterson. “We owe it to our children and future generations to find better, more sustainable ways to meet our nation’s energy needs.”

Big Mine Blowout in Leslie County Saturday Night

On Saturday there was a large mine blowout in Leslie County that released thousands and thousands of gallons of water from a 1970s underground mine on Robinson Creek near Chappell. It’s attributed to Bledsoe Coal Corporation (permit #866-5112). According to the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, there doesn’t appear to be flooding or property damage.

Approximately 10,000 gallons per minute was roaring from the mine as of yesterday afternoon.

From a release sent yesterday:

DNR personnel were back at the site Sunday morning and while it does not appear that the flow has diminished significantly, the water level in the stream has dropped about 2 inches overnight. Officials are uncertain how much water remains in the mine and cannot say how much longer the flow will continue.

The water discharging from the old mine workings was relatively clear last night, but some iron precipitation was observed Sunday morning. Water samples have been collected by DNR personnel and the results of a water quality analysis are expected in the next day or two. Bledsoe company personnel have been closely monitoring the situation and have been cooperating fully with enforcement personnel. The Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement (DMRE) has cited the company, and a notice of non-compliance (NC) and imminent danger closure order (IDCO) were issued to the company Saturday night.

DMRE engineering personnel are currently developing maps to assist in determining what may be happening at this site. An old inactive slurry impoundment (permit # 866 – 0236) and a fresh water impoundment (permit number 866 – 0237) overlay portions of the old mine works, but it is unclear at this time if there is any relationship between these features and the blowout event. Frankfort technical personnel will be joining the field staff to assist in a thorough investigation of this event.

Pay close attention to the bit in bold.

And then this interesting note: A press release from Natural Resources originally indicated that “[a] faulty discharge pipe is thought to have allowed the build-up of water over time.” but that sentence was removed from a corrected release sent seven minutes later. What gives?


Friday Afternoon Is Filled With… Rain? Nice.

Happy weekend! It’s cool, rainy and Frankfort is eerily quiet.

Oh, we hear LEO is finally getting those documents from the Mayor’s office. Funny what shining a bit of light on corrupt practice will do, isn’t it?

Mark Hebert just chased Billy Gillispie down a hallway. Absolutely priceless. Anyone else see it?

WHAS11’s Mark Hebert points out that everything we’ve printed about Kelly Flood’s illegal alcohol party at the capitol was true. Though some legislators tell Hebert there were only a few bottles of wine, and that’s not accurate. We spoke with several legislators in attendance who independently confirm there were bottles of bourbon, gin, vodka and several cases of beer. It’s not a big deal in everyday life but it’s still illegal at the capitol. And Hebert is right, it’s not the first or last time our state legislators will break the law or waste our tax dollars. [Mark Hebert]

Never thought we’d see Martin Cothran condoning men and women who aren’t married to each other having alcohol– illegally– together. At least Cockring is reading us. Guess Marty hasn’t been reading for long, though, or he’d know we always point out hypocrisy– even among our friends. [PURE HILARITY]

Human remains were discovered at the Kentucky Horse Park while digging with a backhoe at the location for a new outdoor stadium. We must’ve missed this story, but 35 skeletons were discovered in November. Turns out it’s an old cemetery that’s been around since the mid 1800s. The horse park plans to release further details as they’re discovered and warranted. [Press Release]

What the heck is up with this Maricle guy who was indicted this month? Murder charges dropped against him on New Year’s Day when the courts were closed? What? [U.S. Justice Watch]

Read the rest of the juicy juicy after the jump…

Read moreFriday Afternoon Is Filled With… Rain? Nice.