This post comes to us from Kristin Espeland Gourlay

This week on, we covered everything from manure to mines.

First, the mines: the U.S. EPA issued a new regulation intended to protect water quality near mountaintop coal mines. The new regs will only affect new mines going forward. The agency says the problem with this kind of mining comes when debris is placed in streams in adjacent valleys – called a “valley fill.” Heavy metals and other pollutants make their way into the water and often end up downstream. The EPA says that new mine projects must make sure the level of conductivity in nearby streams is below a certain level. Conductivity is a measure of pollution, namely how much salinity is in a stream. Mine industry representatives see the new rule as a threat; environmental groups are thrilled because the practice of valley fills could become a thing of the past.

Next, the manure: Kentucky’s got horses. Lots of ‘em. And quite a few are at the Kentucky Horse Park. Apparently, the Park spends about $200,000 a year just to have all that horse manure trucked off to landfills. But they were wasting an opportunity. This week the Park announced a grant from Recovery Act funds to put that waste to use in a manure-to-bioenergy facility. That will help power the park, and save the air from all those truck trips to the dump.

Also, several state legislatures wrapped up, and we took a look at the significant environmental legislation in three states in the Ohio River Valley.