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Scrapbook: Kentuckians Protest Utility Rate Hikes to Subsidize Coal Plants

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

November 23, 2011

Kentuckians Protest Utility Rate Hikes to Subsidize Coal Plants

LG&E-protest-Louisville

Earlier this month, the Sierra Club and a diverse coalition of allied groups rallied outside the Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) payment center to protest the utility's proposed rate hike to pay for upgrades to three dirty, outdated coal-fired power plants.

LG&E-protest-Louisville
Photo By Angela Shoemaker, courtesy of the Louisville Courier-Journal

LG&E recently announced that residential electric bills will go up by about 18 percent by 2016 to pay for upgrading pollution-control equipment to meet federal emissions standards at its coal-fired power plants in Kentucky, including the Mill Creek Station in Jefferson County, the Trimble County generating plant, and the KU Ghent power plant in Carroll County.

LG&E-protest-Louisville

"The November 10 rally was a diverse alliance of the environmental and civil rights communities, low-income housing advocates, and Occupy Louisville activists, demanding that LG&E give us a state-of-the-art energy delivery system," says Sierra Club organizer Tom Pearce. "We should be investing in green energy and green jobs." That's Pearce at right below, being interviewed on WLOU Radio.

Tom-Pearce-on-WLOU

Joining the Sierra Club at the LG&E protest were the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the Justice Resource Center, the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, Rubbertown Emergency Action (REACT), Occupy Louisville, the University of Kentucky Beyond Coal Coalition, and other community organizations.

LG&E-protest-Louisville

The Sierra Club intervened in a legal case this summer to compel LG&E to transition to clean solar, wind, and hydro-electric power, instead of passing the costs of dirty coal onto Louisville ratepayers. A hearing on the case got underway Nov. 9, and was still ongoing as protesters gathered outside LG&E's offices the next day. That's Reverend Milton Seymour of the Justice Resource Center, below at right with megaphone.

LG&E-protest-Louisville

"Ratepayers should not have to bear the burden of expensive coal power," says Pearce. "Toxic pollution from coal-powered power plants endangers the health of the public and puts our communities at risk."

LG&E-protest-Louisville

The rally has generated extensive media coverage, including the Louisville Courier-Journal, ABC affiliate WHAS 11 TV, and Public News Service, among many others. The participation of Occupy Louisville activists prompted another wave of coverage in the national media, including AP and Gannett, which ran coverage on all their sites, including USA Today.

"All this coverage must be due to our awesome Beyond Coal T-Shirts and colorful posters," Pearce says.

Learn more about what the Sierra Club is doing to promote clean energy.

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