House A&R committee hears Stream Saver testimony

More Testimony, No Vote Yet for Stream Saver Bill

Truman testifying on the Stream Saver (by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth)
Truman Hurt testifying on the Stream Saver bill

The hearing on the "Stream Saver legislation continued today with two hours of testimony before the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee. It was the coal industry's turn to present its case, which they did with several witnesses.

The thrust of their testimony was that this was "an anti-mining bill" that would wreak havoc on the industry with all kinds of repercussions for jobs and taxes. They also touted the positive aspects of their mining practices — particularly the uses for reclaimed land. They did not acknowledge the tremendous impact that mining has on water resources, but did show a picture of a "volunteer" tree growing in a rock-lined ditch that replaced a stream.

Rep. Jim Wayne challenged the industry's exaggerated statements, reminding Bill Caylor that he predicted the demise of the coal industry if a net metering bill passed in 2004 (it did).  He asked the industry representatives to respond to EPA findings that restrictions on valley fills would have a negligible impact on the cost of coal and ultimately electricity, and they dodged the question.

Both Rep. Harry Moberly and KFTC's Teri Blanton pointed out that there was nothing in today's testimony that refuted the strong scientific evidence presented yesterday on the irreparable damage done to the ecological health of streams by valley fills.

"With over 40 years of regulation and millions of dollars spent and million of man hours trying to regulate this industry, after 40 years we have nothing better than we began with."

KFTC's Truman Hurt also presented strong testimony: "With over 40 years of regulation and millions of dollars spent and million of man hours trying to regulate this industry, after 40 years we have nothing better than we began with. Water [is] our greatest resource in eastern Kentucky. It's not the coal. And the facts are we are doing nothing to stop the filling of our creek and streams.

"Are we going to be asked to continue to bear the brunt of cheap energy? Are we going to be forced to continue to pay the price and then ship the poisons down to you fellows and let you pay some of it, too? I think it's time to do some responsible mining. That's what we're asking for."

By the time the testimony concluded (after 7 p.m.), many committee members had left. Committee chair Rep. Moberly decided to delay a vote "until everybody's here." That could come any day (probably Tuesday morning, 10 a.m. in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex) when the committee next meets.

Check back later for more updates.

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