Kentucky Declares State of Emergency After Coal Plant Collapse

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency in Martin County on Wednesday after a coal plant collapsed on Tuesday night, killing one worker and leaving one other trapped.

    • At least two workers at Martin Mine Prep Plant were reportedly removing machinery and preparing the 11-story building for demolition when it crumbled around 6:30pm local time.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This incident is a reminder of the inherent danger of the work undertaken by so many Americans across the country, especially as the nation is in a period of transforming infrastructure and removing outdated and dangerous structures. Kentucky is in the process of mobilizing all state resources to rescue these trapped workers.

    Narrative B

    Aging and defunct coal plants are more susceptible to collapse as they aren’t usually built with a specific planned or enforced retirement age. While the priority is to phase out the oldest and least efficient plants as the US transitions to renewable energy, more must be done to keep worker safety in mind and avoid such tragedies in the future. It is not enough to say this process involves risk — authorities must make preventative efforts in future demolition and construction projects.

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