PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602 Phone 502.875.2428, Fax 502.875.2845
SENATE BILL 39 IS BAD NEWS FOR WORKERS AND THE PUBLIC Posted: February 1, 2006
On January 31, a coalition including some chemical companies and some union locals issued a press statement supporting SB 39, a bill pending in the State Senate that is intended to prevent implementation of the Metro Louisville STAR air toxics reduction program. It’s hardly news that some of the companies who use of the public’s air for waste disposal don’t support tighter controls on that practice.
What IS newsworthy is that a number of major companies that will also be required to evaluate their emissions and potentially install controls DID NOT join the coalition in supporting SB 39, including Ford, LG&E, General Electric, Brown Forman, Alcoa/Reynolds, and American Synthetic Rubber Co.(who recently installed controls that will dramatically reduce its contribution to Louisville’s air toxics problem). KRC appreciates their non-participation in the effort that will undercut public health protection for Metro Louisville’s residents by prohibiting adoption of local rules more stringent than federal or state rules.
The intent of SB 39 is bad news for public and worker health, since workers are often the first ones exposed to unhealthy conditions. It is regrettable when labor is made to believe that the choice is either their job or the neighbor’s health when companies are called on to better control their pollution, since the evidence reflects that health and environmental controls are far more often the scapegoats rather than drivers for industrial retrenchment decisions.
Where necessary, tax and other incentives exist to aid in job retention, pollution control improvements and plant modernization – but mandating that Metro Louisville weaken public health protection against unhealthy levels of air toxics should never tolerated under the banner of “restoring balance.”