The Kentucky Resources Council's Statement On The Appointment of LaJuana Wilcher as Secretary of the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet
KRC congratulates Ms. Wilcher on her appointment as Secretary of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet. Ms. Wilcher's background in biology and in administrative and environmental law, and her record of government service at the EPA, particularly as Assistant Director for Water, make her both qualified for and well-suited to the job in a state where surface and groundwater quality and stream habitat are at significant risk from a number of pollution sources.
As Ms. Wilcher knows all too well from her tenure with Administrator Reilly at the EPA during the first Bush Administration, advancing the goals of long-term environmental protection sometimes clash with the short-term economic and political agendas of various economic interest groups.
The question yet unanswered, in a campaign where there was little dialogue by the candidates on environmental policies and where questionnaires presented to Governor-elect Fletcher seeking to illuminate his environmental policies went unanswered, is whether Governor-Elect Fletcher will provide Ms. Wilcher with the political support needed to properly implement the environmental protection and environmental health programs.
Such support must include both restoring an adequate budget for the Natural Resources Cabinet and its related agencies, and support from the Governor's office for full and fair implementation and enforcement of the laws by Secretary Wilcher even when those goals of environmental and public protection may conflict with the advancement of more insular interests of industrial or business supporters.
Governor-Elect Fletcher's environmental platform for Kentucky is an unknown. His voting record on key national environmental issues in Congress garnered a 10% rating approval from the League of Conservation Voters for the 1999-2000 session, and a 0% approval rating for 2001 and 2002. KRC hopes that in his new position Dr. Fletcher will demonstrate independence and will advance a policy consistent with the strong bipartisan support among Kentuckians for a healthy environment.
As it has with each Administration since 1984, KRC stands ready to work with the Fletcher Administration and with Secretary Wilcher to advance the goals of environmental health and environmental protection, on which lasting economic prosperity depend. In this endeavor, KRC wishes Secretary Wilcher every success