KENTUCKY ENVIRONMENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
KEAP is a three-year initiative to advance environmental quality, health, and justice in Kentucky. Launched in January 2023, KEAP combines meaningful citizen participation, science-backed information, and technical and legal expertise to ensure that Kentucky’s environmental decisions protect public health and the environment.
WHAT'S OUR MOTIVATION BEHIND KEAP
At KRC, we have spent 39 years helping communities from Paducah to Pikeville push back against polluters and protect the places Kentuckians live and love. Now, on the precipice of major change, the time has come to do more to advance environmental protection, health, and justice, and to move Kentucky toward a clean energy future.
Federal and state agencies issue thousands of permits and authorizations each year, allowing pollution to be discharged into our water, emitted into our air, and disposed of on land. The role of the public in the permitting process and in holding polluters and regulators accountable was thought by Congress to be critical to success in protecting human health and the environment under laws including the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. Yet, in Kentucky, no more than a handful of proposed permits receive any public review or comment, and even fewer are ever challenged.
Our new project seeks to change that by designing and executing a comprehensive environmental permit review training program for citizens, supported by legal and technical experts. KRC and our network will support meaningful community engagement in the public permitting process, conduct systematic reviews of proposed permits to identify deficiencies, and bring administrative and legal challenges as needed to ensure compliance with the environmental laws designed to protect Kentucky’s citizens, communities, the environment, and our climate.
An Environmental Health and Justice Working Group is providing feedback on the initiative to help us prioritize issues and areas of greatest need. We are also partnering with organizations across the Commonwealth to implement KEAP’s education and permit monitoring efforts.
As resources are allocated away from oversight and existing laws face new challenges, effectively participating in the decisions and actions of our regulatory agencies has never been more essential. Motivated by the great activists who have come before us, we are fully committed to environmental accountability and, as the late John Lewis reminded us, the need to "Speak up, speak out, get in the way. Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”
WHAT WILL KEAP DO?
1. Create an environmental permit review training program for citizens.
2. Partner with organizations, universities, and experts.
3. Provide legal and technical support for public comments and hearings.
WANT TO ATTEND OR HOST A TRAINING?
Are you part of an organization that would like us to visit (in-person or virtual) and share a training with your members? KRC has two presentations, Clean Air Act 101 and Clean Water Act 101 that are ready now, with many more to follow in the coming year!
CLEAN AIR ACT 101 WITH BYRON GARY