Thursday, March 20, 2014

KY law makers take a stand for KY coal

Rep. Jim Gooch and Sen. Dorsey Ridley
J-E News Editor
Kentucky law makers took a stand on Wednesday, passing House Bill 388 (HB388), legislation that would create coal-friendly power plant emission standards in an attempt to head off stricter regulations that are expected to be introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by June of this year. The bill started in the State House under the leadership of Representative Jim Gooch (D-Providence), Chairman of the Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
“Coal mining provides jobs and low-cost electricity for all Kentuckians,” said Sen. Dorsey Ridley, a Democrat from Henderson who represents several counties in the Western Kentucky coalfields. “People in Louisville and Lexington often forget how important Kentucky coal and the low electric rates it provides is to their local economies.  I hope the swift passage of this bill sends a message that coal powers Kentucky, now and in the future.”
The bipartisan legislation, which is now on the desk of Governor Steve Beshear, enables the Commonwealth of Kentucky to push back against what many consider the EPA’s “anti-coal” regulations.
HB 388 would give Kentucky the ability to create common sense greenhouse gas emission guidelines. The EPA is currently taking public comments on rules that would act as a virtual ban on new coal-fired power plants, and is expected to announce additional rules this summer that would lead to the closure of many existing coal-fired generation stations.  This is happening in spite of the fact that the Clean Air Act gives states – not the federal government – the primary role in determining standards.
The bill passed both the house and senate with unanimous votes, a rare feat for any bill. All that remains is for the governor to sign the bill into law.