IN THE MEDIA

IN THE NEWS

 

Lawmakers first passed comprehensive solid waste management legislation on a statewide basis in 1966. Thereafter, the legislature made a number of changes but all of them applied to every county and city.   When litigation arose about the respective role of cities and counties in garbage collection, the legislature responded with a new enactment, in 1982, making clear that counties are the paramount local government unit in solid waste matters.  As time went by, the state courts, in a series of decisions, reaffirmed county primacy under the statutory change...

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On May 14, the Public Service Commission (PSC) released a ruling adopting changes to net metering for Kentucky Power’s customers in a precedent-setting ruling that bodes well for rooftop solar across the state...

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In a decision issued Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed last April’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Justin Walker in a case involving an adult store’s sign off Interstate 65 in LaRue County. The owner of the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore sued the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on First Amendment grounds in 2018 after state officials ordered the sign removed...

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A panel of Kentucky lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday to protect utilities’ right to charge late fees and terminate service to customers who fall behind on their bills during a declared state of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic...

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Washington, DC — A coalition of environmental and community groups today brought a challenge to a Trump Administration rule designed to make it harder for communities impacted by coal mining to hold state regulators and mining companies accountable for violating environmental protections.

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Gov. Andy Beshear has vetoed a bill that attempts to change the venue for lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of a law, executive order or state agency action...FitzGerald conducted an analysis of 261 constitutional challenges filed in the first nine months of 2020 and says that only 11 were cases against officials or agencies, and that only two ended up in Franklin Circuit Court...

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December 29, 2020
LG&E Wants to Increase Rates; Several Groups Push Back
By Tori Gessner, Wave 3
 

LG&E asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission to raise electric rates 11.81 percent, or an additional $11.74 per month for the average customer, and gas rates 9.37 percent, or an additional $6.17...However, consumer advocates like Tom Fitzgerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, said the proposed increase is coming at a time when many are struggling because of the economic impacts of COVID-19. “These are hard times,” Fitzgerald said, “and I think the burden is particularly high or should be high on utility companies to justify rate increases during a pandemic and during an economic downturn.”

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August 12, 2020
Kentucky Power's New Rate Case
By Ariel Fugate, Mountain Association
 

The Mountain Association, along with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) and the Kentucky Solar Energy Society (KYSES), were approved to jointly intervene in formal proceedings for a new rate case proposed by Kentucky Power Company. They are represented by Tom FitzGerald with the Kentucky Resources Council.

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The $20,000 grant will support RRGU’s efforts to protect the Red River Gorge Geological Area (RRG). RRGU formed due to concerns that a resort and retail village proposed for the RRG. RRGU now consists of a fully-formed board and steering committee, comprised of local residents and business owners. The group is supported by professional consultants and technical advisors Gerry Seavo James of the Explore Kentucky Initiative (Frankfort) and SaraDay Evans of Accelerating Appalachia (Lexington) and fiscal sponsorship by Kentucky Resources Council.

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June 18, 2020
 

A letter released Wednesday from community and environmental groups claim ongoing violations at mines formerly owned by Blackjewel aren’t being addressed and actually have gotten worse since a massive protest last summer in Harlan County.

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KRC client, Kentucky Heartwood, brought to us the matter of illegal logging occuring in the Daniel Boone National Forest. In late April, our Environmental & Community Defense team sent a letter to the Daniel Boone National Forest supervisor calling for the suspension of further harvesting pending a review. Read about the issue that faces one of our valuable Kentucky forests.

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January 30, 2020
Lawmakers push to ditch reformulated gas usage in Louisville
By Mark Vanderhoff, WLKY News
 
WLKY News interviwed KRC Director, Tom TomFitzGerald to discuss the House Joint Resolution 8 (Huff and others). This Joint Resolution would direct Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District to determine the environmental benefits, related costs, and potential alternatives to the federal reformulated gasoline requirements currently imposed in Jefferson County and partial areas in Bullitt and Oldham Counties.
 
KRC supports periodic review of all measures contained in “State Implementation Plans” that have been adopted in order to control levels of ozone and other air pollutants, in order to assure that they remain cost-effective in terms of the levels of reduction achieved. KRC opposes any state mandate directing, as the General Assembly once did regarding vehicle testing, termination or removal of any program that is part of the state or Metro Louisville SIP. In testimony before the House Committee, KRC requested that in assessing the benefits of maintaining RFG, the health as well as environmental benefits be evaluated, since elevated ground-level ozone is associated with pulmonary and respiratory injury, particularly to sensitive populations. The sponsor agreed to that inclusion, and it was incorporated into the bill before the resolution as sent to the Senate on January 23 by the House.
 

December 18, 2019
Eight More Miles: A Podcast with Louisville Councilman Brandon Coan

Councilman Coan welcomes KRC Director, Tom TomFitzGerald – Fitz – to discuss the environment, government and justice.

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December 4, 2019
Coal Ash Is Still Polluting Kentucky's Green River
By Ryan Van Velzer, WFPL
 

Often, pollution is invisible. It’s in the exhaust particles we breathe walking past traffic, or the traces of mercury in Kentucky fish. But at the Green Station Landfill in Webster County, it’s obvious.

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August 28, 2019
Zoning Amendment Passes with Increased Restrictions on Pipelines
By Ben Kleppinger, The Advocate-Messenger

After three months of public hearings, the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Commission has finally approved a major overhaul of its zoning ordinance. Disagreements over how the zoning ordinance should regulate hazardous liquids pipelines surfaced last month. But those wrinkles had been ironed out by the time the commission met Wednesday morning. People who had been on opposite sides in July were in agreement that the new ordinance would make Boyle County’s protections against hazardous pipelines even stronger.

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August 14, 2019
Energy in Kentucky
By KET, Renee Shaw - Moderator

KRC Director Tom FitzGerald was featured on KET - Kentucky Educational Television's Kentucky Tonight panel discussing the state of energy in Kentucky.


June 27, 2019
Erosion, landslide and pollution. Coal industry's compliance with fedral rules down
By Bill Estep, Herald-Leader

Only 57 percent of surface coal mine permits in Kentucky were free of violations during oversight inspections in the most recent evaluation, a continued low rate of industry compliance on environmental and reclamation rules..."In any event, the continued slide in the number of sites that are not in compliance, and the number of OSM-observed violations, is a troubling trend,” - Tom FitzGerald, KRC Director

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May 30, 2019
LG&E spurned Bullitt County pipeline route recommended in 2015 study
By Marcus Green, WDRB

 In the summer of 2015, a contractor for Louisville Gas & Electric Co. finished studying possible routes for a new natural gas pipeline that would connect to an existing line in Bullitt County.  The firm, EnSite USA, reviewed 10 corridors for the new line and ranked them based on cost and impact on streams, land use, threatened and endangered species and other factors. EnSite recommended that LG&E build a 13-mile pipeline starting near Coxs Creek in Nelson County and running northwest to the Jim Beam distillery south of Shepherdsville, according to confidential documents recently made public. That route was slightly better than a 15.5-mile path between Bardstown and the distillery that also would travel northward.

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May 9, 2019
Lead and Other Everyday Environmental Dangers
By Patrick Reed, KET

Environmental factors such as air and water quality play a pivotal role in public health, as populations who live in areas with pollution, decaying buildings, and/or an unsafe, contaminated drinking supply are at a high risk of developing a myriad of health problems. How can we become educated about environmental issues to safeguard our own living spaces and also become effective advocates for better regulation of these essential ingredients to our ecosystem? Read more...


May 5, 2019
With or without Green New Deal, Kentucky's energy future is heading away from coal
By Matt Mencarini, Louisville Courier Journal

Over the past five years, the state has made its first significant shift away from coal power, thanks to cheaper natural gas. The move comes as the Green New Deal and its ambitious policy proposals push conversations about Kentucky's energy future further into the political arena. Read more...


April 18, 2019
Landfill amendment process reviewed
By Hannah Woosley of the Georgetown News-Graphic

Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council and attorney to advise the Scott County Fiscal Court regarding the solid waste management plans happening in the county, was back at a fiscal court special meeting on Monday. Read more...


April 12, 2019
Kentucky plan to reduce Mammoth Cave haze approved by EPA
By Stephanie Hill for The Herald-Dispatch

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Kentucky's plan to meet federal air pollutant and visibility requirements around Mammoth Cave National Park. Read more...