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Environmental groups challenge permit for East Ky. Power plant

Environmental groups have filed a request that the state Division for Air Quality revoke a permit it recently issued for a coal-fired power plant that East Kentucky Power Cooperative plans to build in Clark County.

The plant has been the source of much criticism by the groups — the Sierra Club, Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth — which say it would be too polluting. They have urged the cooperative to look instead at renewable fuels and other ways to persuade customers to use less electricity.

East Kentucky Power recently made a move that in effect delays the building of the plant, but it has stated it intends to build in the future and is just delaying its plans as a "business decision."

The challenge asks the Division for Air Quality for a hearing, and that the permit be overturned for several reasons, including that it "would not prevent, abate and control all air pollution as required by Kentucky law and is contrary to the requirements of the Clean Air Act."

A formal hearing before a hearing officer will be scheduled to address the petition, said Division for Air Quality spokeswoman Elizabeth Robb Schmitz. The hearing officer will then make a recommendation to the cabinet secretary overseeing the division who will then issue a ruling. The process is to be done within 180 days, though there are two optional 90-day extensions, she said.

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