Fletcher To Sign Energy Bill on Thursday

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Ernie Fletcher is scheduled to sign an energy bill on Thursday that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in financial incentives to companies that built plants in Kentucky to convert coal to cleaner-burning alternative fuels.

A Fletcher spokeswoman said the governor plans to sign the bill at the Galt House East, a Louisville hotel, following a speech Thursday afternoon.

The initiative also encourages energy companies to build plants that would convert corn and other Kentucky products into clean-burning fuels.

Legislative leaders developed the proposal behind closed doors this summer after executives from St. Louis-based Peabody Energy said they were considering building a $3 billion coal gasification plant in the state.

The amount of tax breaks a company would receive under the bill would be decided by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority, not the legislature.

Environmentalists had opposed the energy bill, fearing it would create new markets for coal, thereby increasing the number of mountaintops being destroyed to unearth the black mineral.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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