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Kentucky Resources Council, PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602 Phone [502] 875-2428

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PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602  Phone 502.875.2428, Fax 502.875.2845

KRC Asks House A&R Committee To Restore Funds Cut From Ky. PRIDE Fund  Posted: February 1, 2006
January 31, 2006

Hon. Harry Moberly, Chair
House Appropriations & Revenue Committee
House of Representatives
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Hon. John Arnold, Chair
Budget Review Subcommittee
House Appropriations & Revenue Committee
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

All Members
House Appropriations & Revenue Committee
House of Representatives
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Dear Representatives Moberly, Arnold, and Committee Members:

I am writing on behalf of the membership of KRC to express grave concerns with the proposed transfer of funds in the Administrationís budget proposal from the Kentucky Pride Fund. The effect of the proposed transfers will be to significantly slow progress towards cleaning up contamination from abandoned landfills and open dumps, with consequent adverse impacts on landowners and the environment.

The 2002 passage of HB 174 by the General Assembly marked a high point in legislative efforts to address solid waste problems. Enacted as a compromise effort to provide a stable funding stream for solid waste litter abatement, open dump cleanup and as an alternative to enforcement efforts to close old municipal and private dumps and landfills, much has been achieved in identifying, characterizing, and preparing to contract for cleanup and closure of these sites. The pace of cleanup will be significantly slowed by the proposed removal of $18 million dollars from the Kentucky Pride Fund.

The Administration has represented this money as being surplus, but that is not the case. The program has been ramping up to tackle the orphan sites, and was poised in this budget cycle to expend both the $18 million that has accumulated from the fee assessment and the 25 million dollars in bond funds that was initially provided in order to front-load the fund.

This diversion of supposedly-dedicated funding will:

* Hamper ongoing efforts to close orphan landfills, since if the full money were available, the agency would have spent $35 million by the end of 2007 and could utilize 5-10 million more each year to work through the priority landfills list. The IRS requirement to expend $23.75 by October 2006 would also be met. Sites that will be in progress on that date will have already committed much of the remaining portion of the $40 million and some will have to be held back from construction in order to allow funding to be replenished.

* Slow the completion of Stage 1 preliminary characterizations of around 1000 landfills, which was scheduled to be completed for most sites in 2007. These characterizations are critical since they identify the priority sites and allow responsible expenditure based on potential impacts.

* Strain the county open dump initiative, since under the Administrationsí Senate Bill 50, the 25% county match for the more costly open dumps is waived and picked up by the Pride Fund. While the work done to date under HB 174 by the agency and counties has been impressive, with 1,133 open dumps cleaned up in that two-year period, through 2004 1,613 remain to be cleaned up at an annual cost of $2 million for FY 2005-7.

I urge you to consider restoring the 18 million dollars to the fund in order that the agency can complete this important characterization work and begin the construction activity. Thank you in advance.

Cordially,

Tom FitzGerald
Director


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