LG&E drops Cane Run ash dump application, plans for giant wall instead

LG&E Cane Run Generating Station. (By Michael Hayman, The Courier-Journal) March 26, 2010

LG&E Cane Run Generating Station. (By Michael Hayman, The Courier-Journal) March 26, 2010

 

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. has withdrawn its application for a new coal-burning-waste dump at its Cane Run generating station in western Louisville, ending a nearly three-year battle with environmentalists and power plant neighbors.

But another battle may be touched off by a proposal to erect a massive retaining wall, possibly as tall as a 13-story building, so LG&E can put more waste in its current Cane Run dump on the same property .

Chris Whelan, a company spokeswoman, said the wall would be built only as needed, but could be at most about 130 feet tall, or about 20 feet below the current top of the landfill.

“It’s made of rock in wire baskets, similar to the retaining walls you see along expressways and will be located on the east side of the landfill in a semi-circle behind the sludge processing plant,” she said. That plant is along Cane Run Road south of the plant.

She and state Division of Waste Management officials said the retaining wall won’t require any modifications of the company’s landfill permit because it’s not changing the footprint of the 30-year-old dump.

But Kathy Little, who lives on Cane Run Road near the plant and landfill, said she questions whether it will be safe and what it will look like.

And attorney Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council environmental group, said the change is big enough to require a public review process through a permit modification, and he will requesting that of state regulators.

Generally, however, environmental, neighborhood and company representatives said on Wednesday they were pleased that the proposed new landfill would be scrapped.

The 60-acre, $54 million dump at the Cane Run Road power plant would have eventually extended as high as a 14-story building in an area now largely occupied by transmission lines near the Ohio River, towering over an adjacent residential neighborhood.

Instead, the company will build its new natural gas plant where the landfill would have gone.

Company officials last year said they were likely to abandon their plans for the landfill when they announced they were planning to close their nearly 60-year-old Cane Run plant and replace it a cleaner-burning natural gas plant, which produces no ash or scrubber wastes.

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