Senate Bill 4
Extending Fossil-Fueled Power Plants & Undercutting Energy Efficiency
SB 4, sponsored by Senator Robby Mills, creates a presumption against retirement of coal and gas-fired power plants unless the retired unit will be replaced by a new generating unit with no net increase in cost to ratepayers.
Although assuring reliable electricity from Kentucky's electric utilities is an important public health and safety issue, Senate Bill 4 would not advance reliability, and could make already-high utility bills even more costly for ratepayers.
A big problem is that by requiring the Commission and utilities to maintain fossil-fuel generating units unless that retired unit's capacity is replaced by a new generation unit, all efforts at demand-side management and energy efficiency, and of distributed renewable generation (such as rooftop solar) that are intended to allow avoidance of or to delay the need for new electric generation, are undercut. The goals of adequate, reliable, and affordable electricity are best served by opposing SB 4 and encouraging instead that the Public Service Commission open an administrative case to invite all utilities and the public to explore what can be done to increase grid reliability while protecting ratepayers.
Please Contact your State Representatives and ask that they oppose Senate Bill 4.
Senate Bill 226
Weakening Protections for Endangered Species & Water Quality
SB 226 would prevent the Kentucky Division of Water from requiring that discharges into Kentucky streams with threatened and endangered species include water quality-based pollutant limits needed to protect those species and their habitat.
By tying the hands of state regulators on state-issued water discharge permits where federally protected aquatic species exist, the bill will have the opposite effect of that intended. It will spawn:
- more litigation on implementation of the water quality standards,
- more challenges to individual KPDES discharge permits into waters with federal-protected species, and
- further degradation of Threatened & Endangered species.
It may also result in withdrawal of Kentucky’s delegated pollutant discharge permit program by EPA or by the courts, as well as potential EPA action on the individual permits because issuance of a discharge permit by Kentucky without considering and applying the most protective of numeric, narrative, and antidegradation requirements violates Kentucky's obligations under the Clean Water Act.
Additionally, the bill creates an unworkable timeframe for the Energy & Environment Cabinet's review of requests for certifications on whether a proposed activity will comply with state water quality standards. By requiring that the Cabinet act within 60 days of receiving a complete application, the bill doesn't allow time for requesting and receiving additional information needed to meaningfully review requests, and will have the unintended consequence of more denials of certification requests due to lack of adequate information on which the agency can make a determination.
Please Contact your State Senators And Ask That They Oppose SB 226.
House Bill 4
Favoring Large-Scale Solar Developesr Over Farmers & Rural Landowners
HB 4, which makes changes in the laws regarding the siting of utility-scale solar and other facilities generating electricity for the wholesale market, is now in the Senate Agriculture Committee. As written, it favors the interests of solar developers over Kentucky farmers and other rural landowners. Five changes are needed to protect landowners and to hold merchant power plant developers accountable.
Please act this weekend to email each Senator on the Senate Agriculture Committee and your State Senator and ask them to support the five changes needed in HB 4 to protect landowners and hold merchant power plant companies accountable.
Please contact your State Senators and ask that they oppose HB 4 without the five changes needed to protect landowners and hold merchant power plant companies accountable.
- All equipment should be removed at the end of the solar facility's life unless the landowner requests otherwise.
- The bonds should be set by the Siting Board or County with advice of an engineer at an amount sufficient to completely remove the facility and restore the property, minus salvage value, and should be reviewed every 5 years.
- Transfers of ownership or control of the LLCs that own these power plants should be reviewed and approved by the Board.
- The bill should be prospective only and not try to affect existing Siting Board decisions and court cases.
- Local governments should be able to require more, but not less, protections for landowners and communities than the Siting Board.
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