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.



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.”


1. Create an environmental permit review training program for citizens.
Through this project, we will provide the resources needed for citizens to understand the various permitting and compliance processes, and become proficient in conducting permit reviews, advocating for more stringent controls and accountability mechanisms in permit decisions, and monitoring the compliance of various industrial, commercial, and institutional pollution sources.

2. Partner with organizations, universities, and experts.
We are developing a cadre of experts in the various fields associated with these permitting areas, including engineers, geologists, hydrologists, health professionals, biologists, and university centers. Our partners will assist with permit comments and research. We will also partner with local, state, and national environmental and public health organizations to share experience and expertise, develop training modules, and provide other resources to support the initiative.

3. Provide legal and technical support for public comments and hearings. 
KRC and our partners will provide legal and technical support for public comments and support community engagement in attending public hearings.

4. Conduct reviews of draft permits and authorizations.
KRC and our partners will review and comment on select draft permits to create model templates for public comments, identify gaps in implementing our environmental laws, and strengthen permits. We will advocate for pollution reduction, prevention, climate change impact mitigation, and full and fair implementation of the regulations intended to protect human health, air, water, soil, and natural resources.

5. Advocate before all levels and branches of government.
Through repeated and systemic participation in the public review and comment process, our team will identify those areas where inadequacies exist, and regulatory programs can be strengthened through advocacy. KRC and our partners will use the legal, administrative, and legislative processes to effect change in these programs and strengthen the environmental laws that protect the health of our citizens and planet.

6. Engagement on rulemakings before decisions are made.
We will advocate for stronger regulations and pollution control limits before regulators like the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

KEAP’s goals of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, reducing pollution, and correlating improvements in environmental health, quality, and justice, are investments worth making. We hope you will join us in making "good trouble" towards achieving them.


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!

Email Lesley Sneed, Environmental Permitting Specialist,