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Sierra Club claims power plants have caused violations in air-quality standards; Churchill Downs files for gambling license in Nevada

The Sierra Club and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation released a study Tuesday suggesting that nine power plants have left areas of Kentucky in violation of national air-quality standards, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

The plants emit dangerous levels of sulfur dioxide that can cause and compound breathing problems, cardiovascular disease and other ailments, the study claims. Those pollutants “are likely causing violations of the one-hour sulfur dioxide national ambient air quality standard,” the report said.

The environmental groups said the study showed that all of Lexington and most of Louisville aren’t meeting the standard set for sulfur dioxide presence, the paper says.

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Churchill Downs Inc. has filed for an online gambling license in Nevada, signaling the Louisville-based gambling and racing company is acting on its interest in operating online poker, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

Spokeswoman Courtney Yopp Norris confirmed Churchill has filed an application with the Nevada Gaming Control Board. She could not immediately provide any timeline for the approval process or whether the company would proceed with an online gambling venture if it could operate in Nevada alone, the paper says.

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Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order establishing the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, a requirement of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), but he has not yet made a decision on the expansion of Medicaid.

The Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange is an online marketplace that will provide one-stop shopping for individuals to enroll in qualified health coverage plans. Those plans may be offered through the exchange or coverage through other federal or state health care programs, including Medicaid and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP).

The exchange will also assist employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in health plans, enable individuals to receive premium tax credits and premium subsidies and qualify small businesses for tax credits.

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Almost immediately after Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order establishing the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, a legislative panel turned thumbs down on a $300,000 lease the administration sought for office space for 210 employees who will man the health exchange.

The Capitol Projects and Bond Oversight Committee voted along mostly partisan lines not to approve the lease. The secretary of finance, Lori Flanery, can override the committee and approve the lease.

Voting no were Republicans Sen. Tom Buford, Sen. Jared Carpenter, Rep. Steve Rudy and Independent Sen. Bob Leeper, who usually votes with Republicans. Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro, Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, and Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Franklin, voted to authorize the lease.

But leading the charge during the questioning was Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, who isn’t a voting member of the committee.

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