Back in March, we reported on how the Sierra Club was helping galvanize residents of western Kentucky against a proposed coal terminal near the city of Paducah, on the Ohio River. On May 23, that effort ended in victory when the McCracken County Fiscal Court voted 3-1 to reject a coal industry-backed plan to rezone 490 acres of West Paducah for heavy industrial use.
That's Sierra Club regional organizer Tom Pearce, above, with West Paducah resident Teresa Cash, after the Fiscal Court vote. Cash lives in the area that Southern Coal Handling wanted rezoned for the coal terminal. Had the company gotten its way, heavy industrial development would have been permitted less than 150 feet from where Cash and her husband Chad live.
The May 23 meeting capped of a series of half a dozen public hearings on the proposed coal terminal since late February. Despite heavy public opposition, the McCracken County zoning commissioners voted in late March to approve the rezoning. That's when the Sierra Club and neighborhood groups kicked their effort into high gear.
"We turned out between 150 and 200 people for every meeting," Pearce says. "And before the May 23 meeting, we got residents to flood the County Clerk Executive and the members of the Fiscal Court with phone calls opposing the rezoning."
Below, a photo taken at an April 20 meeting of the McCracken County Commissioners, where all in attendance who opposed the coal terminal were asked to raise their hands.