Kentucky lawmaker praises EPA Clean Power Plan

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on July 31, 2014

Over the next few weeks we will share some of the powerful public statements made by Kentuckians to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the agency's proposed Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Below is testimony given at a hearing yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia by Joni Jenkins, who represents Kentucky's 44th House District in the state legislature.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.  My name is Joni Jenkins and I represent Kentucky House District 44 in the Kentucky General Assembly.  The 44th district is South of the Louisville, right on the banks of the Ohio River.

It is home to hard working, mostly blue collar, workers who strive everyday to raise their children for a brighter future. The 44th District is also home to 2 coal fired power plants with 2 coal ash landfills and coal ash ponds.  

Daily, fly ash blows from the towering landfill and lands on my constituents’ cars and their homes.  Fly ash lands on their children’s toys and swing sets.  Fly ash lands on their vegetable gardens. And, that’s just the pollutants we can see.

I traveled today to represent the people of the 44th District; the Moms and Dads, the Grandmas and the Grandpas; who want to see their children grow up healthy and prosperous.

As a public official, I rely on having the most truthful, objective set of facts before me as I make decisions that may affect thousands of people for thousands of years. It is a responsibility that I sought and one that I do not take lightly.

I believe the proposed EPA climate rules are a step in the right direction, for so many reasons – the health of our citizens, the health of our economy and the health of our planet.

Kentucky has an abysmal rate of asthma – 13%. Asthma and allergies have triggers in common, among them being pollen counts, which are expected to rise significantly if climate change continues unabated. We will not see positive change until we begin to limit the amount of carbon dioxide spewing forth from the coal fired power plants.  I have asthma – I know that I will always be on medication and will never be far from a rescue inhaler. My condition is manageable, but there are side effects, like bone loss, from the very medicine that allows me to breathe.  We are sentencing too large a number of our children to this chronic disease.

As a state, we are attempting to prepare our young students for a new and global economy.  Clean energy initiatives have proven to be economically successful in many jurisdictions throughout the world.  Kentucky needs to join in this revolution.  Since 1970, every dollar invested in compliance with Clean Air Act standards has yielded 4 to 8 dollars in economic benefits.

Between 2008 and 2009, the Louisville area was hit by hurricane strength winds in the Fall, a January ice storm that left much of Louisville and the western portion of KY without power for months and a summer flash flood caused by 6 ½ inches of rain falling during morning rush hour resulting in millions of dollars of damage. The climate is changing and not just in Louisville, KY.

The EPA is to be commended for stepping up in the absence of congressional action, to address GHG emissions from power plants.  The flexible approach proposed in the rules for existing and modified electric generating units allows states like Kentucky to improve the efficiency in how we generate and consume electricity – looking for ways on both sides of the meter to improve the quality of life of the people of the 4th poorest state in the nation.

We have “cooked the books” on energy for many years in Kentucky, and our reliance on coal-fired power and electricity made “cheap” by externalizing the pollution costs has had a real impact on the people of my district and others that host coal-fired power plants.  Requiring that the full environmental and human health impact of combusting fossil fuels be accounted for is not a “war on coal,” but is instead a rational effort to protect human health and our children’s future by stopping the use of the public’s air, land, and water for industrial waste disposal.

As a person of faith, I would like to join my denomination, the United Church of Christ in commending the EPA for taking a crucial step toward safeguarding human communities and the earth for generations to come.

Thank you

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Kentuckians to EPA: Act on climate, protect health, support a Just Transition

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on July 30, 2014

Kentuckians in Atlanta for EPA climate hearing

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KFTC will be pilot site with Climate Justice Alliance

Posted by: KFTC Staff on July 23, 2014

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Rising Kentucky Voices: Coming Together for Tax Fairness

Posted by: Sarah Martin on July 17, 2014

Central KY Chapter Member Sarah Martin was among a group of folks with low-wage work experience who went to Washington, D.C.

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Louisville Housing Experiment

Posted by: Shavaun Evans on July 10, 2014

Think government-controlled experiments on our nation’s poor are a thing of the past?

Think again.

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VISION Smoketown

Posted by: Elijah McKenzie on July 9, 2014

Change abounds in the city of Louisville. As bike lanes begin to appear on familiar neighborhood streets, arrangements are being made to bring a Wal-Mart Supercente

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The journey to pass Fairness in Danville

Posted by: KFTC on July 2, 2014

On the evening of June 9, the city of Danville became the 7th city in Kentucky to pass a local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance when the Danville City Commission approved a Fairness ordinance with a 4-1 vote. It was a long road to get there, one that local members of the Wilderness Trace KFTC chapter started walking back in 2012, shortly after the chapter officially formed.

Leading the way to pass Fairness in Danville were local KFTC members, Jane Brantley and Eric Mount. Well before their work on Fairness in Danville, both Jane and Eric worked in various ways for LGBT equality, from urging legislators to oppose the same-sex marriage amendment in 2004 (this amendment was recently ruled unconstitutional) to supporting their churches moving forward for LGBT equality. It wasn’t until 2012 that they felt moved to work for a Fairness ordinance in Danville.

 “I became aware that cities in Kentucky were beginning to examine passage of local Fairness ordinances,” said Jane. “When the small town of Vicco in eastern Kentucky passed its ordinance, I thought, ‘Why not Danville? After all, we’re supposed to be the City of Firsts. We need to get busy.”

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STAY Together Appalachian Youth 4th Annual Summer Institute

Posted by: Tanya Turner on June 30, 2014

The STAY (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Project will host the 4th Annual STAY Summer Institute (SSI) from July 31 to August 3 at Camp Bethel in Wise, VA.SSI is STAY's largest gathering of the year and is open to 14-30 year olds from Central Appalachia, including eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, West Virginia, southwest Virginia, and western North Carolina.

The STAY Project is a diverse regional network of young people throughout Central Appalachia who are working together to advocate for and actively participate in their home mountain communities. STAY is about the need for communities now and in the future to have the basic human rights that everyone deserves no matter where they live, their economic background, their race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or cultural background.

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Many accomplishments celebrated at Shelby chapter annual meeting

Posted by: Shane Ashford on June 24, 2014

Music, food and new faces highlighted the second annual chapter meeting of Shelby County KFTC Chapter on June 19. More than 30 members and friends attended, including at least 10 who are new to chapter meetings.

Almost half of the chapter’s 67 members were present to review the organization’s platform and to celebrate work accomplished over the past year, as well as to discuss work to come. The scene was energetic and welcoming at the unassuming Stratton Community Center in Shelbyville, where a delicious spread was bracketed by homemade pies. The pies fueled much conversation and inspiration for the group’s upcoming pie auction in September.

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Central Kentucky KFTC holds 2014 Annual Chapter Meeting

Posted by: Beth Howard on June 20, 2014

The Central Kentucky KFTC Chapter held its Annual Chapter Meeting on Thursday, June 19 at the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.CKY Annual Chapter Meeting Group

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth's Annual Membership Meeting will be held August 22 - 24 in Carrollton at General Butler State Park. Every year leading up to the annual meeting, each chapter of KFTC holds a special meeting to elect leadership, provide feedback about KFTC's issue platform, and vote whether to remain a chapter. These meetings are an important part of KFTC's democratic process. They provide a time to reflect and celebrate our accomplishments, set new goals, and engage all interested members in building a strong grassroots organization. 

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Kentuckians want better protection than what's in the general permit

Posted by: KFTC staff on June 19, 2014

Members of KFTC and ally groups asked state officials to care about the quality of the water where they live, and recognize its importance for social and economic activity, during a public hearing

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