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July 6, 2018

Effort is to improve public safety by reducing the unacceptably high number of dangerous dig-in incidents involving natural gas pipelines

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – Effective July 14 the Kentucky Public Service Commission will begin pursuing enforcement actions against excavators who violate Kentucky’s call-before-you-dig law and damage natural gas or hazardous liquid lines.

Under a change to the law, the PSC will be able to impose financial penalties if violations are uncovered, a PSC news release said.

Information on the statutory changes and the PSC investigation and enforcement process can be found online at https://psc.ky.gov/PSC_WebNet/GasExcavationDamage.aspx.

Ky. PSC Chairman Michael J. Schmitt Ky. PSC Chairman Michael J. Schmitt PSC Chairman Michael Schmitt said that the stepped-up enforcement of the call-before-you-dig requirements reflects a greater emphasis nationally and at the state level on pipeline safety.

“This new law brings Kentucky into line with federal standards, which the PSC enforces under an agreement with the US Department of Transportation,” Schmitt said in the news release. “More importantly, it is an effort to significantly improve public safety by reducing the unacceptably high number of dangerous dig-in incidents involving natural gas pipelines.”

Like every other state, Kentucky has a statewide 811 service that, by law, must be called at least two working days prior to beginning excavation. The advance notification is intended to allow ample time for utility lines to be located and marked so that excavation can proceed safely. Natural gas providers and hazardous liquid pipeline operators are required to provide the location of their lines to the 811 center.

In 2017, there were more than 1,200 incidents in Kentucky in which a gas line was damaged during an excavation – or about 23 per week. Many involved a failure to call 811 before beginning excavation.

Excavators, including homeowners, could be penalized for not calling 811, ignoring location markers or using improper excavation methods. Operators could be penalized for not responding to requests to locate lines or for improperly or inaccurately locating or marking underground facilities.

Penalties are up to $1,250 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $4,000 for subsequent violations.

“Not every incident in which a gas line is hit will result in a violation being issued and a penalty assessed, especially if 811 has been called,” said John Lyons, director of the PSC Division of Inspections, which will investigate incidents. “However, a failure to call 811 will trigger an enforcement action.”

About 240 entities operate natural gas or hazardous liquid pipelines in Kentucky. They include local gas distribution companies fully regulated by the PSC and municipal natural gas providers and other entities, such as housing authorities, that are regulated by the PSC for safety only.

 

 

July 3, 2018

Thapar was born in Detroit to Indian immigrants who were culturally Hindu but not devout, and he grew up in Toledo, Ohio

With U.S. District Court in Ashland, Lawrence Countians are familiar with Thapar

Amul Thapar, who sits on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Eastern Ky. is currently being considered to replace the retiring justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Amul Thapar, who sits on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Eastern Ky. is currently being considered to replace the retiring justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump interviewed four potential Supreme Court candidates Monday, including Kentuckian Amul Thapar, a federal appeals court judge.

White House officials declined to name which candidates for the seat of retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy met with Trump. But multiple outlets, including law blog Above the Law and the Washington Post, named four federal appeals court judges.

In addition to Thapar, who sits on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump also reportedly met with judges Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, Brett Kavanaugh of Maryland and Raymond Kethledge of Michigan.

The White House has said they plan to announce their nominee by early next week.

Thapar, who lives in Covington, has been named among the frontrunners. The Kentuckian was also among those considered for the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, but that went to Neil Gorsuch.

Thapar is a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentuckian, which some have said means he can't be ruled out of contention for the seat.

Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Brian Fitzpatrick, an expert on federal courts, said last week that he thinks Thapar is the most likely nominee.

"He's incredibly bright. He's incredibly thoughtful," he told the Courier Journal. "He's a real scholar-judge. And he's also a charming, personable guy who gets along with people from all walks of life and political persuasions."

Thapar was born in Detroit to Indian immigrants who were culturally Hindu but not devout, and he grew up in Toledo, his father told the Courier Journal last year.

Trump nominated Thapar last year to his 6th Circuit seat; he was Trump’s first nominee to any federal court. Thapar was a district court judge in Eastern Kentucky.

 

By Darcy Costello
Louisville Courier Journal

 

June 28, 2018

Craft beer, bourbon and moonshine production facility celebrates Eastern Kentucky’s history

FRANKFORT, Ky. – During a ceremony in Pikeville Wednesday, Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated Alltech and Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery opening its $15 million operation in Pikeville and the creation of 13 full-time jobs.

“Alltech has played a significant role in the commonwealth’s spirits industry over the years, and we are pleased to welcome this new brewing and distilling operation to Pike County,” Gov. Bevin said. “A new day of economic opportunity is dawning in the Pikeville community and across Eastern Kentucky. We wish Alltech continued success and look forward to the positive impact this project will have on the region’s tourism industry moving forward."

The project included the construction of a nearly 30,000-square-foot facility and the purchase and installation of equipment, such as 19 fermenters and three copper pot stills. The 13 jobs created as part of the project include “storytellers” and managers overseeing the brewery and distillery, visitor center and overall operations.

The operation produces a range of craft beers and moonshine, including Hopfield and McCoy IPA, Pikeville Ale and Apple Orchard, Bonfire, Mountain Flower and Original moonshines. Additional craft beers will be available exclusively in the Pearse’s Place taproom, which will open above the brewery and distillery later this year.

Dueling Barrels was the creation of late Alltech founder Dr. Pearse Lyons, who initiated the development of the distillery as an effort to promote tourism in Eastern Kentucky.

“My father always had a keen sense of potential, and he saw that in abundance in Eastern Kentucky,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, Pearse’s son and president of Alltech. “By establishing a brewery and distillery in the region, he hoped to create jobs, elevate tourism by moving the Kentucky Bourbon Trail east and attract other business leaders to invest in the area.”

Pearse Lyons, an Irish entrepreneur and scientist, and his wife, Deirdre, founded Alltech in 1980 to research and deliver products for the sustainable nutrition of plants, animals and people. The company’s expertise in yeast fermentation, solid state fermentation and the science of nutrigenomics make it a major producer and processor of yeast additives, organic trace minerals, feed ingredients, premix and feed.

The family owned company is headquartered in Nicholasville with seven production facilities in the state employing approximately 700 people. Globally, Alltech has more than 100 production facilities and four bioscience centers.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles congratulated Alltech and noted Dueling Barrels will draw tourists to Eastern Kentucky.

“What an honor to celebrate the opening of Alltech’s Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky’s bourbon and beer industries continue to expand, creating economic opportunities for places like Eastern Kentucky. With hopes of joining the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery has the potential of bringing thousands of visitors to visit the scenic Appalachian region. I applaud Alltech for continuing to bring to life the founding vision held by Dr. Pearse Lyons and his wife, Deirdre. This company continues to blaze a trail forward for Kentucky agriculture.”

Dueling Barrels 2018 opened in Pikeville, Ky.Dueling Barrels 2018 opened in Pikeville, Ky.

 

Sen. Ray Jones, of Pikeville, said the operation could have a significant impact on the local economy.

“We are pleased that Alltech chose to make Pikeville home to Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery,” Sen. Jones said. “This operation will provide a welcomed boost to the economic base and tourism industry in our region. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership in Pikeville.”

Rep. Angie Hatton, of Whitesburg, said the distillery could provide long-term value for the region.

“I’m proud to welcome Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery, which I am confident will have a lasting impact economically on this region, just as Mr. Lyons hoped,” Rep. Hatton said. “I appreciate all that Alltech has done to make his vision a reality, and I want to thank our local and state officials for working cooperatively with the company to make this facility possible.”

Pikeville Mayor James Carter noted the strong reputation of the Lyons family in welcoming the distillery to the community.

Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter, Jay Million, Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Governor Matt Bevin, Mrs.  Deirdre Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons, Brandi Ore, Former First Lady Judi Patton, Buford Burchfield and Randy Thomas cut the ribbon on Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery in Pikeville, Kentucky. Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter, Jay Million, Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles, Governor Matt Bevin, Mrs. Deirdre Lyons, Dr. Mark Lyons, Brandi Ore, Former First Lady Judi Patton, Buford Burchfield and Randy Thomas cut the ribbon on Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery in Pikeville, Kentucky.

“It has been inspiring to be a part of the journey to bring Alltech’s Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery to Pikeville. This is certainly a tremendous addition to Pikeville and is a cornerstone of our economic diversification that will assist in shaping the future of Pikeville,” Mayor Carter said. “It has been an honor to work with Dr. Pearse Lyons, Deirdre Lyons and Alltech to bring their vision of Dueling Barrels to life. They have shared their energy, innovation and love of Pikeville with us every step of the way. We are extremely grateful for their investment in our community and we look forward to the future.”

Pikeville City Manager Philip Elswick said interest in visiting the facility is already high.

“Alltech’s Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery is a project that has captured the attention of many throughout the community, state and nation. We often have received questions and calls both from locals and from visitors asking when they are going to be open,” Elswick said. “This project has created a new energy, not only in Pikeville, but throughout the Eastern Kentucky region and we are proud to be included in it. We are humbled and grateful for the Lyons’ and their willingness to invest in Pikeville and we will never be able to adequately express our sincere gratitude. We look forward to welcoming the many visitors to Pikeville and Eastern Kentucky to experience Dueling Barrels and hope to share with them the many other wonderful attractions and events we have in the region.”

Alltech can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

For more information on Dueling Barrels, visit www.DuelingBarrels.com. More info about Alltech is available at www.Alltech.com.

A detailed community profile for Pikeville can be viewed here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

 

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