House Committee Fails to Pass Stream Saver Bill

"This is a sad day for eastern Kentucky and for Kentucky as a whole. It means the destruction will go on. The destruction will grow worse. But we will not quit yelling and hollering until we see justice. Responsible mining is what we want. Is that too much to ask?

"We'll be back next year, stronger, better and hitting harder. And when we do return, hopefully we'll have a new Natural Resources Committee to replace the one that won't even give this bill fair consideration."

Truman Hurt
Perry County

Legislation to stop the dumping of toxic mining wastes into Kentucky's headwater streams fell two votes short of passing the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Tuesday afternoon. The "stream saver" legislation had 13 favorable votes and only 12 against but did not get the 15 needed to pass when Louisville Reps. Scott Brinkman and Bob DeWeese reneged on commitments to vote for the bill. Both abstained.

After more than four hours of testimony last week, no new testimony was taken today. But the voted was delayed until mid-afternoon while the committee dealt with revenue bills and the budget.

Here's how they voted

YES for protecting water: Reps. Royce Adams, Dwight Butler, Jesse Crenshaw, Derrick Graham, Jimmy Higdon, Jimmie Lee, Harry Moberly, Lonnie Napier, Don Pasley, Rick Rand, Charlie Siler, Arnold Simpson, Jim Wayne

NO for continued pollution: Reps. John Arnold, Larry Clark, James Comer, Keith Hall, Rick Nelson, Fred Nesler, Marie Rader, John Will Stacy, John Vincent, Tommy Turner, Robin Webb, Brent Yonts

PASS: Reps. Scott Brinkman, Bob DeWeese, Danny Ford

ABSENT: Rep. Mike Denham

KFTC members are disappointed but were thankful for the courage of Reps. Harry Moberly and Don Pasley to bring the bill before the Appropriations and Revenue Committee. Both pledged to bring the issue up again if the Natural Resources Committee continues to fail to taken water pollution and the burying of streams seriously.

Getting this issue a full hearing before a legislative committee is the result of a tremendous amount of work by KFTC members and allies across the state, and in itself is a great step forward. The detailed data provided by scientists as to the damage being done to the state's waterways – and the cost that all Kentuckians pay because of this – opened the eyes of many people in the room, especially since the coal industry could not refute these facts.

In the the end, though, the power of the money, the opposition of House leadership, and the attitude by some legislators that it's OK for eastern Kentucky to be the state's sacrifice area still held sway with many legislators.

Also a disappointment was the No vote by Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville who had expressed support for the measure in conversations with constituents but then said he thought the bill was being heard in the wrong committee.

News coverage of the vote

One comment removed for inappropriate and immature language..

Issue Area(s): 

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.