2019 General Assembly – Week One and Done (For Now)

The 2019 General Assembly began and completed its first four days of the legislative session, beginning on January 8th and concluding on January 11th.  This year is a 30-day “short session” so this means that there are only 26 days left. The legislature is now in recess until February 5th.

While the first week was short, KCC has already reviewed several bills filed in the House and Senate that either have environmental impacts, or may have an impact if amendments are filed (those are the bills we have marked to “monitor’). We have posted all bills we have reviewed as of 1/8 and are presently reviewing those that were filed in the later part of the week. We should have those additional bills posted by 1/19, so please check back often on our bill list for updates. We generally review all new bills on Fridays and post updates on Saturday.

During this first week, lawmakers also made changes to the composition of their working committees. Several freshmen have been added to the House Natural Resources Committee and there is new leadership on the Senate Natural Resources Committee as well. Many key environmental bills are typically (but not exclusively) housed in Natural Resources, so we encourage you to reach out to freshmen lawmakers on these committees. Introduce yourselves, and let them know about the environmental issues you care about. If you need assistance in meeting with your Representatives or Senators, please contact us and we are glad to help.

A Busy, but Exciting Weekend of Activities for KCC

This past Friday (Jan. 11), KCC co-hosted a reception for Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown, Texas, Mayor of the first city to commit to 100% renewables (which was achieved in 2018). Louisville Metro Council President David James has introduced a resolution for making Louisville a 100% city, and Mayor Ross was able to spend time speaking with  James and Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer, along several other city and state leaders about the work that has been happening in Georgetown.

And then, on Saturday (Jan. 12) Mayor Ross joined KCC’s Annual Meeting and Legislative Summit as our keynote presenter. More than 80 KCC members and supporters attended the day-long conference, co-hosted by the University of Louisville Office of Sustainability. In addition to the Mayor’s enlightening presentation on how to get past partisan politics to create a livable and sustainable city,  we had other guests presenting on sustainable cities including Chris Zitelli of the Kentucky chapter of the US Green Building Council and Dr. Lauren Heberle of the University of Louisville who spoke on the environmental justice aspects of city redevelopment and sustainability.

The day also featured conservation updates from the Kentucky Office of Nature Preserves and Kentucky Division of Water. We also had some great presentations on how leaders are addressing biodiversity and habitat resiliency in times of climate change through presentations by David Phemister of The Nature Conservancy Kentucky, Greg Abernathy of the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, and Margaret Carreiro from the University of Louisville (Retired) who spoke on how habitats and resiliency can be addressed in cities.

Senator Morgan McGarvey was also on hand to give his perspective on how citizens can be better advocates for their issues, and how legislators can better engage with their constituents. KCC has resources and tips you can use at this link. You can also find the full agenda and handouts from this last weekend’s conference on our Events page, where we will also be uploading all of the available presentations.

Upcoming Events: Solar Lobby Day, Feb. 28

KCC works with conservation constituents on a wide range of issues, and also assists citizens who want to lobby. We are also helping to coordinate or support several different Lobby Days during the session. On February 28th, we will be working with solar advocacy groups for a Solar Lobby Day that is hosted by a network of solar advocates including; Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light, Sierra Club, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Solar Energy Society, Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, Earth Tools, Community Farm Alliance and Solar Kentucky. Register to attend!

Also: Do you have solar on your home or business?? We’d love to profile you to be one of our solar success stories. Please let us know!

Outdoor Recreation “Hill Day” Scheduled for March 4 

Join the Explore Kentucky Initiative at the State Capitol on March 4th and help bring attention to the importance of outdoor recreation in Kentucky! KCC will be assisting with this initiative, so if you or your organization are interested in being a part of Hill Day, please contact us!

Save the Date: Louisville Earth Walk, April 20 

We are once again participating in the Louisville Earth Walk, which returns to Iroquois Park for its third year on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Everyone is invited to join in the celebration as we walk in support of a vision of a city where everyone, in every neighborhood, has safe and clean water, air and soil.


The feature event is a 5k walk and fundraiser. Proceeds will be distributed among 12 partner organizations each of which will be on site to provide ideas and inspiration that you can take back to your home, office, group or community! So spread the word and save the date!



VOTE November 6th, Then Join us for Ky Voices November 7th



These are busy times, as we have been receiving many calls at the office asking for research on the voting records of many in the legislature. While KCC does not presently endorse specific candidates, we have been glad to help our members with information on the voting records of candidates on specific issues we track. It is exciting to see such an involved electorate, and we hope to see all of you at the polls on November 6th. If you don’t know where your polling place is located, you can go to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center page to find your precinct location and sample ballots. You can also view your current voter registration and find candidate filings through the state’s Voter Information Portal. We know that many KCC members are out there working hard for their chosen candidates, and we appreciate all of your effort to express your views at the ballot box.

As soon as we know election results, KCC will be posting the new slate of 2019 legislators on our website. We are looking forward to working with these new faces and committee members.

Kentucky Voices, November 7th, 2018

With all of this hard work that has been taking place, we have scheduled our annual Kentucky Voices Author’s Event to be held the day after elections, Wednesday, November 7th in Frankfort. We hope you will take advantage of this annual event and join us for a relaxing evening of some of Kentucky’s best native authors and filmmakers. The event is FREE for current members in good standing, and if you are not a member, we are asking for a suggested donation to support our work and prepare for the 2019 session. (Better yet, we hope you will consider becoming a member!). We will be serving refreshments at 6:30PM and the event begins at 7PM.  We have a GREAT lineup for the evening, details here. Please join us and come out in support of KCC! You can also donate in advance on Eventbrite.

New Resources

We are excited to share new resources with our members, KCC’s guide to Key Steps for Climate Action, and our new Climate Action web pages. We had been working on these new resources over the summer, and received a request for an advance printing of our climate action guide last month, but will soon be following with a revised and expanded print edition in December to add updated information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The guide highlights many great examples of work all across the state to address climate impacts and steps you can take. If you would like copies of this guide for your organization, please contact us. We will also be sending out the Key Steps guide to all KCC members who have renewed their membership by the end of December 2018.

What’s Been Happening During the Interim Session

As we reach the end of the Interim Session, meetings have been slowing down, but lawmakers were engaged with plenty of presentations all summer. Just to mention a few highlights, a few weeks ago, the Natural Resources & Energy committee received several presentations in Owensboro, including several from Owensboro Grain, who is producing biodiesel, soy-based industrial products, and demonstrated its on-site co-generation power plant that is designed to power 100% of their “crushing” division’s power needs. Earlier they received detailed presentations on the state’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure, which will be a major concern in upcoming sessions. Back in September, the same committee received updates from Fish & Wildlife on the status of invasive species such as wild pigs and Asian Carp, plus information on the control of contagious diseases in Kentucky wildlife. These are just a sample of topics that were covered over summer, and KCC has been monitoring all that have a conservation impact.

Other highlights include presentations to The Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture who received updates on the Farms to Foodbanks programs and some of the great agricultural work happening at Kentucky State University.

Interim committees are still scheduled to meet up to the week before Christmas. These meetings are a great time to schedule a meeting with legislators on the issues you care about. If you are planning a visit to Frankfort and would like our assistance in setting up a meeting with your favorite legislator, please contact us and we are glad to accommodate.

Recognitions…Thanks for your great work!

The work we all do to protect Kentucky’s natural environment is very hard and most do it with little expectation of reward. However in the past month, we were very pleased to see recognition for very deserving champions: First we’d like to mention is Chris Schimmoeller, who will be this year’s recipient of Kentucky Heartwood’s annual Stu Butler memorial award. Chris has been a longtime friend of KCC and we can’t say enough about her career of caring for Kentucky’s natural environment and her personal grace and integrity. In addition, Kentucky Resources Council’s director Tom Fitzgerald, a constant ally and friend of KCC, was presented the Secretary’s Award for his work to reform oil and gas laws during the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment. We were also pleased to see an award go to the Kentucky Native Plant Society, a KCC partner group.

And speaking of the annual Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment: This year’s conference, I have to say, had far more focus on energy than the environment, which I found to be a disappointment. That perspective was also shared by KCC member Kris O’Daniel last week, in her Lexington Herald-Leader Op Ed. The conference covered progress on the Abandoned Mine Land program, the energy and regulatory outlook for 2019, and the growing urgency of dealing with our state’s water and wastewater infrastructure. See this article on this year’s conference.

Upcoming Events

We are very excited to announce that we are receiving support to organize a conference next summer or fall, tentatively called the “Upper Cumberland Watershed Climate and Biodiversity Conference”. We are hoping to bring together a diverse group of interests who want to address Kentucky’s unique biodiversity, and form action plans to support climate resilience in this important watershed. Stand by for more details as we develop this project, and if you are an organization who is interested in participating, we’d like to hear from you!

In the meantime, mark your calendars for KCC’s Annual Legislative Summit, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 12th, 2019 in Louisville.

Thank You!

We want to thank several organizations that invited KCC to present at their recent meetings. We were guests at the Kentucky Conference for Environmental Education for a panel on environmental advocacy, and were also invited to present to the Mammoth Cave and Northern Kentucky Groups of the Sierra Club to update them on legislative issues happening around the state. We are glad to come out to your region if you are looking for guest speakers…just contact us!

We’re Moving…but not very far!

As some of you may know, last year we had to move the KCC office on short notice due to our building on East Main (Frankfort) being sold just before the session began. We temporarily re-located to the other side of Main Street this year, but are now planning on a move a block away to Wapping Street, across from Frankfort’s Paul Sawyier Library. We should be in our new office before the 2019 legislative session.


The Race is On

During the slower months of the Summer, we at KCC spend much of our time trying to bring additional value-added services to our members, to our partner groups and to legislators. This year, all 100 seats in the Kentucky House are up for re-election, as well as half of the Kentucky Senate seats. So we at KCC have taken some time to provide you with links so that you can more easily follow the evolution of both chambers during this election season (List of current House members and their November election challengers can be found HERE. Senate HERE). Where there are candidate websites or incumbent legislative pages available, we have linked to that information. We hope you will find this helpful as you make your way through campaign season.


Encourage More Conservation Platforms

As we were reviewing all of these candidate websites, there were some who provided conservation issue platforms, but it was clear to us that conservation issues were NOT a priority for many candidates. So we have taken the liberty to send all  candidates,  (incumbents and challengers alike) a copy of the 2018 KCC Legislative Review and Conservation Brief, along with a suggestion to refer to this information and encourage them to develop a conservation platform if they have not already done so. We hope you will also encourage your candidates of choice to do the same!

KCC historically has not endorsed specific candidates, however we do try to provide general nonpartisan candidate information as a service to our members and to candidates. You may find a voting scorecard of key conservation bills from the 2018 session.

And as long as we are talking about the elections, don’t forget, now is a great time to remind folks to register to vote. Registrations can be added from now till 30 days before elections. (Several states have adopted “automatic” voter registration, with Massachusetts being the most recent, signing their bill on August 9th. Learn more about the Massachusetts legislation here).


Conservation Alert: Ohio River Water Quality

The Ohio River Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is proposing to drop all of their regulation of the Ohio River water quality and give the job back to the individual states. Send your comments by August 20th. All you need to do is email them to:  and tell them you object to these changes. Suggested comments:

I oppose and object to the proposed changes to the Pollution Control Standards (PCS) and ask that ORSANCO retain the language passed in 2015. If approved, ORSANCO is abandoning its mission and obligation to the people of the Ohio River Basin, but even worse, the water quality and quality of life of people in the Ohio River Basin will continue to suffer.

For more information go to:


Interim Committees

Elections aside, we are spending the rest of our Summer attending the various Interim Joint Committee meetings and Cabinet meetings  in order to provide you with the best information we can. These past few weeks we have seen detailed presentations dealing with the crumbling infrastructure throughout the state, including the state’s bridges and water infrastructure.

The Transportation Cabinet is reportedly looking at an estimated $700 million over the next six years to address approximately 1,000 bridges in all 120 Kentucky counties (see story HERE). The transportation funding bill was one piece of legislation that did not pass last year, and was on our radar due to the proposal to add flat road usage fees for hybrid and electric cars. You can learn more about the Transportation Cabinet’s plans for bridges on their website called Bridging Kentucky.

As for the state of our state’s drinking and waste water infrastructure, this also has been a significant discussion for the legislature over the interim session. This past week, the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources heard presentations from the Energy and Environment Cabinet and Division of Water, (see story HERE) as well as presentations from Kentucky American Water, who estimates that an $8.2 billion investment is needed in drinking water infrastructure alone.


KCC Hosts the Wild & Scenic Film Festival- August 30th!

We’re ready with a fresh lineup of films, so if you have seen this festival before, this is a new lineup! We have an amazing list of films for this event on August 30th in Lexington’s Kentucky Theatre. In addition to 14 amazing films, there will also be door prizes, so come join us for this evening of fun in support of KCC!  In addition, there will be loads of fantastic silent auction items at the Kentucky Conservation Foundation’s Silent Auction which will be held in the lobby during the event. Reserve your tickets NOW at the Kentucky Theatre! To learn more about the films, click here. And a huge thanks to our local sponsors: Solar Energy Solutions, West Sixth Brewery, J&H Lanmark Outfitters, Wild Birds Unlimited Lexington, Republic Bank, Quantrell Subaru and Good Foods Co-Op. Thanks to the Kentucky Sierra Club for their in-kind promotion support.

We also expect to have a preview of Ben Evan’s film “EVOLVE: Driving a Clean Future in Coal Country” during our event on August 30th. (You will also be able to see a full screening of their film at the Kentucky for Drive Electric week on September 6th).

Information about both film events can be found at the Kentucky Theatre website:



A Busy (but fun!) Summer of Activities

You would think that after the end of a long legislative session, we would be taking a break, but it has been a very busy summer here at the Kentucky Conservation Committee. We are presently continuing our work on several initiatives from the legislative session, such as our work do defend land conservation funding, support for electric cars, pollinator programs, clean energy and more. In addition, we have been trying to get out and about across the state to meet with groups and citizens in a wide range of legislative districts.

We started the summer by attending a screening of the new film, The Human Element, which was shown in both Louisville and Lexington. KCC is helping to coordinate additional screenings of this film over the rest of the Summer and Fall throughout the state. If you have a facility that is interested in showing the film, please contact us.

We’ve also been taking the time to explore other initiatives happening around the state and beyond starting with Kentucky’s Pollinator Program, where State Apiarist Tammy Horn hosted a day at one of the University of Kentucky’s research farms. UK interns showed us an array of research gardens with test plots of milkweed and native plants designed to inform best practices for monarch waystations and effective habitat restoration. We finished the day at Columbia Gas, where they have been experimenting with ways to transform utility corridors to promote more monarch-friendly habitat.

We also took the opportunity to check out the innovative programs happening at Mt. Folly Farm in Winchester, where Laura Freeman (formerly known for Laura’s Lean Beef products) has developed a wonderful suite of locally-based agricultural initiatives, out at her historic 1790s log house and organic farm. The compound features heirloom crops and heritage corn, plus her newly-planted CBD hemp plantation, used for Laura’s  CBD oil and hemp chocolate products. Her farm is being designed to become a “carbon sink,” and the farming complex is open for birding and biking on Saturdays. See story about Laura’s work here.

We also traveled to Nolin Rural Electric Co-Operative in Elizabethtown, which has become America’s first PEER-certified electric co-operative. PEER is a standard from the US Green Building Council that stands for Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal. Nolin achieved its PEER “Gold” status by launching an emergency response plan for reliable service, by continually monitoring power quality on each service point on its 3,000-mile system, and by establishing enhanced tracking to determine root causes of any equipment failure and to identify problems. To learn more about PEER, go to:

Finally, we had the pleasure of attending the U.S. Climate Action Network Annual Conference, where KCC has been a member group for several years. The annual conference is where hundreds of organizations, with a particular emphasis on small and frontline groups, help to set climate priorities across the nation. KCC is presently compiling some of the best examples of local climate work in here in Kentucky for a project we will be releasing later this year. So watch for that soon!

So what is in store for the rest of the summer??

You can plan on seeing us once again out at the Kentucky Heartwood Music Festival on Saturday, July 28th in scenic Millville, Kentucky for starters. The event runs from 3-10PM rain or shine, so come on out!!

KCC’s Foundation is also one of the charities registered for the Birdies for the Bluegrass event, which is a PGA tour event to support charities throughout the region. So please ask your golfing friends (and others) to check out our foundation’s charity page for the event, and make a pledge per birdie! We appreciate if you can spread the word!

And because our work is at its most successful when we grow our strategic partnerships, we want to draw your attention to the upcoming  Justice First tour, which focuses on building solidarity in the South by combining environmental justice, climate justice, economic justice and racial justice. The tour will be in Louisville on August 3rd, 2018. The tour will be visiting the Joshua Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 426 South 15thStreet, from 6-8pm.

Finally, we plan on ending the season with our presentation of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Lexington, to be held on Thursday, August 30th at the Kentucky Theatre. If you have attended one of these festivals in the past, you know they are jam-packed with wonderful outdoor films, with each screening featuring a new mix of films custom-selected by the sponsoring organization. We’ve selected 14 short films that include a wide variety of hiking, birding and travel adventure films as a fundraiser for KCC. We want to thank our major sponsors for the event, which include: Solar Energy Solutions, West Sixth Brewery, J&H Lanmark Outfitters, Wild Birds Unlimited Lexington, Republic Bank, Quantrell Subaru and Good Foods Co-Op. Thanks to the Kentucky Sierra Club for their in-kind promotion support. We are presently helping to collect silent auction items for the Kentucky Conservation Foundation’s Silent Auction, which will run simultaneously with KCC’s film fest, so if you are interested in contributing items, please contact us.



Finally, some “Thank You’s” And Actions

We wish to thank Senator McGarvey and Representative Donohue for their recent editorial on how some utilities are rolling back energy efficiency programs. See story here. If you are an LG&E-KU customer and would like to submit your own thoughts to the Public Service Commission on these rollbacks, please send email to no later than July 23rd, note “Case No. 2017-00441” in your subject line, and include your name and USPS mailing address in the body of your note.


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Spring is Here…Time to Learn and Reflect

The Importance of Biodiversity: Those of us at KCC have been spending the past few weeks getting out in the public at spring events,  reflecting on the session, and finding new ways to add value to our connection with our constituents. Last month we had the pleasure of attending several public events, including the Kentucky Green Living Fair in Somerset, the Green Festival in Springfield, and other opportunities where we could make our way across the state. We met with native plant nurseries, beekeepers, solar companies and others who represent the issues we support. One of the vendors I encountered, Salamander Springs, was selling heirloom corn and I was fascinated with the story behind it…because it reminded me why protecting Kentucky’s unique biodiversity is not just about protecting a species, but also about preserving a culture and a way of life. These seeds were cultivated from a strain dating back to the 1800’s, improved by farmer Daymon Morgan. I may have met Daymon at one time or another, as he was very active in conservation circles before he passed a few years ago.

But what I do remember was the Leslie County hollow in which he lived. This was diverse hollow, once rich with clear streams and native plants. I visited this hollow on a regular basis for many many years, hiking the roads, studying the streams and observing over time the impacts created by a massive mountaintop mine operation as it slowly devoured tracts within the hollow over the course of a decade. I often hear the criticism that conservationists are simply folks resistant to change. However in witnessing the change within this hollow, I believe what we are resistant to is losing are the things that contribute to the richness of our very lives. So this spring I am taking some time to be thankful for that richness, plant me some rows of Kentucky Rainbow corn, and reflect on what makes our mission so important.

Climate Change: A few weeks ago we were privileged to co-sponsor, with our partners at Strobo-Barkley, a visit from Carroll Muffett , President of the Center for International Environmental Law and former Kentucky native. Carroll gave a wonderful presentation in Louisville about CIEL’s work on exposing the full history of how fossil fuel companies have masked their research on climate change. If you were not able to join us, you can watch the discussion here. If you would like to read more about the project, exposing internal fossil fuel documents on the climate crisis, click here.

New Tools, New Legislative Summary: KCC focuses primarily on legislative work, and we do not promote specific candidates for office. However we do try to provide our constituents with tools to promote an informed and educated base. So this month, we have included bipartisan information to our list of legislators in the House and Senate, adding where there are currently challengers in those districts. We also have been asked on how legislators voted on specific bills this session, so we are offering you a sneak preview of a bill scorecard from the 2018 session. We have listed all of the bills and resolutions  we ranked as either a “strong support” or “strong oppose” this session, plus a few more, and also indicated how each lawmaker voted. In situations where a vote did not take place, we at least listed the sponsors and co-sponsors.  We hope you will find these new tools helpful.

We are also excited to let you know that our 2018 Legislative Review and Conservation Brief is at the printer now…and will be mailed to current members in good standing in the next week or two. In the meantime, you are welcome to view the digital version below. If you are not yet a member of KCC and would like to receive a print copy, please email us. You are also invited to become a member.

Upcoming Events:

KCC will be at two events this Saturday, May 12: the Bluegrass Birding Festival at McConnell Springs in Lexington from 9-4, and we have also been invited as a special guest speaker at the Evolve Lexington electric vehicle group, who will be meeting on Saturday at the Lexington Main Library from 2-4, 140 East Main Street. We hope to see you at one of these events!

Fundraisers: Help Us Spread The Word! KCC’s charitable foundation, the Kentucky Conservation Foundation, will be participating this month for Kentucky Gives Day, May 22nd. We would very much appreciate if you could help us by spreading the word and invite your friends to support this fundraiser. KCF is the fiscal sponsor for KCC’s educational work. To learn more about Kentucky Gives day, click here.

Our Foundation will also be participating in Birdies for the Bluegrass, a charitable golf tournament held in July. Beginning in June, donors can go online to and pledge to give an amount to your organization for every birdie a professional golfer makes in the tournament. We hope you will help us spread the word in support of our environmental education work through the Kentucky Conservation Foundation.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Mark Your Calendars! KCC will once again be hosting the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, slated for the evening of Thursday, August 30th at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington. Watch this space for details, and if you are interested in being a sponsor for this year’s festival please email us!


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Session Adjourned…the Work Continues

While we await the final signatures from the Governor, I would like to take some time to thank all of our members and supporters, as well as our KCC Partner Groups and Affiliates, for their support this session. We also want to thank our legislative affiliates at Strobo Barkley.

There are several bills still that have now been signed into law, and some still on the Governor’s desk. While we were pleased to see the anti-solar bill HB227 stopped, we were equally disappointed to see that the $5 million in funding (over two years) for the Heritage Land Conservation Fund was swept into the general fund, despite everyone’s best efforts. So we encourage you to find other ways to support your local nature preserves for now by offering to provide volunteer assistance for trail maintenance and please continue to purchase the Nature Plates, as they still need what revenue they do still receive.

To see the latest updates, go to our website for our fully-updated status of House and Senate bills. Members in good standing will also be receiving our full legislative summary booklet once the Governor completes his signatures. So if you are not currently a member and wish to receive the legislative summary, you can join here.

Latest House Bill Status Here

Latest Senate Bill Status Here


Upcoming Events:
Louisville Earth Walk, Saturday, April 21

And then we hope you will join us in Louisville this Saturday, April 21, for the Louisville Earth Walk! Registration information HERE . Proceeds will benefit KCC’s Foundation and many other great organizations.

Fossil Fuels, Corporations and Liability for Climate Change,
Thursday, April 26

The Kentucky Conservation Committee presents “A Crack in the Shell: Fossil Fuels, Corporations, and Liability for Climate Change.” on April 26 from 7pm-8:30pm at the Thomas Jefferson Church in Louisville. Join Us for an Evening with Kentucky’s Own Carroll Muffett, President, Center for International Environmental Law, Moderated by: Katie Bulinski, Associate Professor, Bellarmine University School of Environmental Studies.  Sponsored by Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentucky Resources Council, Bellarmine School of Environmental Studies, Kentucky Solar Energy Society “KySES”, Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church/Louisville, KY, Louisville Climate Action Network and Strobo Barkley PLLC. Address of Thomas Jefferson Church is 4936 Brownsboro Rd, Louisville, Ky. The event is free and open to the public.


The Work Continues

During the interim session, KCC expects to be engaging members in ongoing projects. The session has left us ongoing work to do in several areas:

  • Continuing our work to expand access to solar energy. We will be continuing this work through our partnership with the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance and the new allies we have engaged through the session.
  • Supporting funding for land conservation and related issues through the Conserve Kentucky initiative.
  • The dialogue on green transportation will continue. Since the transportation funding bill did not pass, the question of how we fund our roads as we grow the market for more efficient cars is a debate which will continue during the interim session.
  • We will also be spending the off-session period supporting the state’s pollinator plan and related issues.
  • Finally, KCC is currently working with allies on a revised Climate Action Plan for Kentucky.

If you are interested in working with us on any of these projects, please contact us at 502-209-9659.


Honoring Oscar Geralds, Jr.

“Oscar firmly believed that humans were the stewards of God’s creation and spent most of his adult life advocating to make this so.”

KCC regrets to inform their members that one of our great heroes, Oscar Geralds, Jr., passed on Sunday, April 15th, the day after the legislative session concluded.

I have never known a man with more integrity and honor, and I will miss his friendship and his unwavering defense of the Creation we all share. The earth is lucky to have had this humble lawyer in its court. This legislative session, Senator Julian Carroll passed a resolution on the 50th anniversary of the protest hike that brought national attention to the campaign to save the Red River Gorge, where Oscar’s contributions on the issues impacting the Gorge were instrumental toward its protection.

When I moved to Kentucky, I had  begun my adventure into environmental advocacy through the local Sierra Club, where I first met Oscar Geralds (learn more about Oscar’s early history in the Sierra Club and his role in helping to save the Red River Gorge here). Oscar opened up his office, and his home, to myself and many other members on a regular basis. Many may not be aware that the Sierra Club in Kentucky literally ran out of Oscar’s downtown Lexington law office for many, many years, where we held newsletter committee meetings, conservation meetings, and the occasional happy hour. (It was often said that ‘it wasn’t a Sierra Club event without red wine’). When Oscar closed the law firm about a decade ago, he continued to open his house to members and friends regularly…whenever anyone in our crew was having a particularly good or bad week, a call would go out for ‘happy hour’ and we all would arrive at Oscar’s place.

My first years in his company were largely spent hiking and backpacking with him. Having served in the Army, he had the stamina to out-hike people far younger than himself, with a slow, steady pace, and could usually outlast most of us young’uns by the end of a full hiking day. He continued to hike well into his 60’s and 70’s, where I watched in amazement to see him boulder-scramble with his walking stick up the steep climbs in parts of the Gray’s Arch loop. I once watched him trip on a root at the beginning of the Koomer Ridge hike where he did a full head-over heels somersault, but dusted himself off and continued to complete leading his group on a 7-mile loop. Two days later, we found that he had broken a rib in the fall. My favorite hike with Oscar was his annual pre-thanksgiving hike at Natural Bridge, hiking up to Natural Bridge and then down via the Sand Gap perimeter trail….a long, somewhat unremarkable 9-mile walk, but a great way to spend an entire day on the trail.  Oscar had the hike timed precisely in his notebook, and would adjust and record his timing each year. As the years passed, it became more difficult for him to reach the end of the long trail before dark, but he was always able to finish.

I spent many great adventures backpacking with Oscar as well. He knew all of the best ‘hidden’ places in the Red River Gorge, and would always take his trusty old-school A-frame style Eureka 7 lb.  tent and canvas frame pack as his gear of choice.

About a decade ago, the State Nature Preserves Commission arranged to dedicate the trail at Pilot Knob in his name. His remarks to us were somewhere along the lines of asking why we picked such a damn steep trail. To no one’s real surprise though, he decided to hike the 2.5 mile ‘very strenuous’ ascending trail to the overlook that day, to the spot where Daniel Boone first laid eyes upon the Bluegrass Region.

In later years, Oscar and his wife Frankie continued their activities by opening their home volunteers in the Sierra Club’s Inspiring Connections Outdoors program, which brings underprivileged youth to the outdoors. Oscar was involved in far too many other activities and accomplishments to mention, but these are the ones I will remember the most.

Oscar was my inspiration and mentor for defending our natural environment. I only hope that through my role with KCC, that I can accomplish a fraction of the great works that he accomplished in his 88 years on this planet. I will miss him dearly.

-Lane Boldman, KCC Executive Director

Services will be held 1 pm Thurs, April 19 at Calvary Baptist Church, 150 E. High Street, Lexington, KY Visitation will be 10 am–12:30 pm Thursday at the church. More information here.


The Final Week

Update, Noon, 4/9: Governor Bevin now expected to veto the budget and revenue bills. While the budget and revenue bills are now in question, we ask that you still continue your calls…please continue to tell Governor Bevin, AND the House and Senate, that you do not approve of the funding “sweeps” to the Heritage Land Conservation Fund. These sweeps are no way to balance a budget.

As we open this last week of the legislative session, we begin with five more days on the calendar in the veto period.  Once a bill passes the House and Senate, the Governor may sign a bill, permit it to become law without signature, or veto it. The Governor has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to veto a bill after it is received. In Kentucky, the Governor also has the right to line-item veto, as provided by the Kentucky Constitution, which means the Governor can disapprove any part or parts of appropriation bills embracing distinct items. The part or parts that are disapproved do not become law unless the veto is overridden by a majority of the members of both houses.

On Friday and Saturday of this week (April 13 & 14), the legislature reconvenes for the last two days of the session. This means that anything passed at this time can still be vetoed by the Governor, however the legislative branch would no longer have days left to override.

So it is important for you to take actions this week on remaining bills.
Please see the KCC Alerts page for actions we suggest for this week.

Important actions still include:

  • Funding for Land Conservation in HB200
  • Stopping House Bill 227
  • Fees on Electric & Hybrid Cars in HB609

On the anti-residential solar bill, we want to highlight this week’s editorial from the Lexington Herald-Leader…”HB 227’s backers have provided no evidence, only hype and divisive propaganda, that non-solar customers are hurt even a tiny bit by the net metering law that allows households to receive credits on future bills for excess solar power they feed into their utilities’ wires.”

But the most important point of the editorial is in highlighting (as we have mentioned in earlier blogs), the record spending from utilities to pass this bill. Read more here.


Join us on Saturday, April 14thfor lunch
(and the end of the session)

KCC will be hosting a Groupraise meal at Sage Restaurant in Frankfort. Come have lunch or an early dinner at Sage from 11am to 4pm and they will donate 25% to our educational Foundation. We need to have 15 more people register in advance (by April 11) in order for us to be eligible for the donation, so if you are planning to come to Frankfort for the session, OR you simply wanting to come to town for a great lunch or a visit to Wilson’s Garden Center to start your spring plantings, then come join us!! Please register in advance so that we can be eligible for this donation credit!

Louisville Earth Walk April 21

And then we hope you will join us in Louisville on April 21 for the Louisville Earth Walk!Registration information HERE Proceeds will benefit KCC’s Foundation and many other great organizations.


Thanks to You

Our work during this long session has taken a lot of resources, and our strength has been from your membership support, but also from our alliances with many partners. We want to THANK all of our partner groups and allies for their support and assistance during this long legislative session. We particularly want to thank our friends at Kentucky Resources Council, Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, Sierra Club, Kentucky Solar Energy Society, Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and ALL of the KCC Partner Groups who support our work. Most importantly, we want to thank KCC’s trusted partner Randy Strobo of Strobo Barkley PLLC.

Please encourage your friends to join us or donate to  help grow our base and support our work.

Latest House Bill Status Here

Latest Senate Bill Status Here

General Assembly: Two Legislative Days to Go

The General Assembly recessed late in the evening on Monday, April 2nd, the 58th day of the 60-day session. We are now in a period for the Governor to either sign or veto bills. The legislature will re-convene on April 13, and will finish the session on April 14. So you now have two working days left to make an impact.

We are pleased to say that, through your actions, we were able to hold off a vote of the anti-net metering bill HB227 at the close of session on Monday. However this bill will likely be taken up once the legislature re-convenes on the 13th, so please continue to make your calls and send your emails.

Utilities have spent tens of thousands of dollars on contract lobbyists and print ads to see this bill through, and your legislators may be under the impression that the substitute versions that have offered are an improvement. But they are no improvement, and we are continuing to urge constituents to send the message that this bill is NO compromise, does NOT protect solar jobs and residential solar owners and utilities have NOT presented evidence of the impact to ratepayers. The bill will still have to pass the Senate in the last two days of the session, and then will have to confer with the House version before it can be sent to the Governor’s desk.

We were disappointed, however, to see that despite all of your calls, and a sign-on letter from 47 land constituency groups, that the funding “sweep” of $5 million in funds from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund remain in the current Free Conference Committee version of the budget bill (HB200) that was passed. The bill has now been sent to the Governor’s desk, however there is still an opportunity for this language to be struck through a line-item veto. So please contact Governor Bevin and urge him to “line item veto the funding sweep for the Heritage Land Conservation Fund” ($5 million total).

Bills and resolutions passed and/or signed by the Governor to date:

  • HB22 (KCC Oppose) Drone Bill, Became law without signature on 3/24
  • HB33 (KCC Support) Bike Safety Bill, signed 3/29
  • HB140 (KCC Oppose) Training stipend for law enforcement, paid from Game & Fish Fund, signed 4/2
  • HB264 (KCC Monitor) Reorganization of the Energy & Environment Cabinet, Signed 3/28
  • HB370 (KCC Support) Streamlining of environmental remediation, signed on 4/2
  • SB7 (KCC Monitor) Rare disease task force. VETOED on 4/2
  • SB104 (KCC Monitor) Reporting for underground excavation. Signed 4/2.
  • SB129 (KCC Monitor) Reorganization of the Energy & Environment Cabinet, signed 3/27
  • SR157 (KCC Support) 50th Anniversary of the Gorge Hike, adopted 3/31
  • SJR218 (KCC Support) Addressing food waste and charities. Signed 3/29
  • SB249 (KCC Support) Oil and Gas administrative hearings restructure. Signed 4/2

Bills and resolutions currently on the Governor’s Desk:

  • HCR7 (KCC Oppose) Black Vulture resolution, sent on 3/29
  • HB114 (KCC Monitor) TVA in-lieu-of revenue bill, sent on 3/29
  • HB200 (KCC Oppose) Budget Bill, sent 4/2,
    Ask the Governor to line-item veto the sweeps to the Heritage Land Conservation Fund.
  • HB202 (KCC Monitor) Road Project Authorization, sent on 4/2
  • HB204 (KCC Monitor) Legislative Branch Budget Bill, sent on 4/2
  • HB261 (KCC Monitor) Mining statute provisions. Sent on 3/27
  • HB324 (KCC Oppose) Trespass on Infrastructure. Sent on 4/2
  • HB366 (KCC Monitor) Republican’s revenue bill. Sent on 4/2
  • SB151 (KCC Monitor) Formerly a sewer bill, now a pension bill, sent on 3/29

You may contact Governor Bevin’s office at this link.

And check the status of other bills to see if they are making their way to the Governor’s desk, or if there is still time to act! See our updated list with full analysis of House bills and Senate bills.

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General Assembly Week Thirteen: Solar Action Now

Week Thirteen: Solar Action Now:
This week will be a big week for the two main issues that have dominated this session for KCC members:  Land conservation funding and solar net metering. While land conservation funding (in HB200 Budget bill) is still being debated in a special budget conference committee, the anti-net-metering bill is getting dangerously close to becoming law. Monday, April 2nd,  is when we anticipate a final push on this bill.
The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed HB 227 SCS1 this week with a vote of 6 (Carpenter, Harris, Hornback, Westerfield, Schickel, McDaniel) to 3 (Smith, Jones, Turner and then there were two absent members Embry, Webb). This committee sub essentially abolishes net metering as we know it.

A few lowlights of HB227 as passed by the Senate Natural Resources Committee:

1.     Excludes consideration of the benefits that solar provides to the grid and ratepayers.

2.     HB227 creates an inefficient and costly regulatory process that will burden the PSC and solar industry with the need to perpetually re-litigate net metering in regularly recurring rate cases for all 23 retail electric utilities.

3.     HB 227 radically changes how net metering operates by changing the “monthly netting” of energy production to “instantaneous netting.” Currently, a net metering customer “nets” what they generate and what they use, over a billing period, at the same value. There is no incentive to “overbuild” a solar array since it would create credits that would never be used. HB227 ends monthly “netting” of use and generation, and imposes “instantaneous” netting, so that the PSC could set the value for all electricity fed into the grid, not just the excess over use in a month. This greatly reduces the value of a customer’s solar investment, while the utility saves money during peak periods by selling that solar energy to other customers.

4.     HB227 places hard caps on the solar market by allowing utilities to stop offering net metering to new customers when solar reaches 1% of their annual peak load and by limiting solar array size to 30 kilowatts. For comparison, Indiana allows net metering up to 1,000 kilowatts and Ohio has no size limits!

5.     HB227 may jeopardize grandfathering. New language appears to exclude system transfer, devaluing solar for those who have already installed systems.

6.     HB227 lacks a phase-out. The transition from 12/31/18 to 1/1/19 will be abrupt and stark.  Under HB227 residential net metering effectively dies 12/31/18.

After a long Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee meeting,
the bill passed at around 1:30 PM on Thursday. The full Senate then went into session at around 2 PM. In the meantime that same afternoon, the House snuck in a 291 page pension bill as a sub to a Senate wastewater treatment bill with no notice (this was Senate Bill 151, which had been a KCC Support bill as wastewater legislation). This pension bill was called in committee while the full house was in recess, was passed out of committee and was called on the full house floor. It barely passed the house. The senate then immediately took up the bill. At around 11 PM on Thursday, the wastewater bill with the pension sub passed the full senate.

This means that the full senate did not have time to deal with the net metering bill. And due to schedule changes, the House and Senate recessed for the week. Senator Morgan McGarvey did file a floor amendment asking the PSC to also consider “measurable benefits” of solar to the utility and ratepayers before the close of the session but that would still need to be taken up when the session resumes.

The earliest the senate could consider the bill is Monday, April 2. If it passes the Senate, the House then has to pass the same language. Remember, the house only barely passed HB 227 on a vote of 45-42. On top of that, the house and senate still have to pass a budget and also now deal with the anger of teachers across the state.
We still have a chance of defeating this anti-solar bill. HOWEVER it will require KCC advocates and partners to make one last concerted effort starting NOW. We hate to infringe on your Easter holiday, but we hope you will fill legislator’s email boxes in both the House and Senate, because lawmakers may assume this new bill substitute is a compromise. IT IS NOT.
KCC agents will also be on hand first thing Monday at the Capitol Annex to assist any citizens who attempt to corral their legislators! Call us at 502-209-9659.

Other Bill Movement This Week:

We still do not know if funding has been restored to the Heritage Land Conservation Fund in the budget bill. The bill negotiations are being handled by a free conference committee consisting of senators McDaniel, Thayer, Stivers II, Higdon, Wilson, Seum, Givens, Ridley, Jones II, and Parrett and  Representatives  Osborne, Rudy, Shell, Meade, Bratcher, Carney, Tipton, Stone, Keene, Adkins, See additional information and actions on our special Conserve Kentucky page.
Several bills and resolutions have now also moved on to the Governor’s desk this week to sign or veto. Those include:
  • HCR 7 – Migratory bird depredation permits for black vultures (KCC Oppose)
  • HB114 – TVA in-lieu-of-tax revenue bill (KCC Monitor)
  • HB140 – Asks for annual training stipend paid to all conservation officers be paid from the game and fish fund (KCC Oppose)
  • HB261 – Amends several mining statute provisions (KCC Monitor)
  • HB370 – Streamlines the voluntary environmental remediation program application process for contaminated properties. (KCC Support)
  • SB7 – Establishes a rare disease advisory task force. (KCC Monitor)
  • SB107 – Requires underground facility operators to report to the PSC excavation damage to an underground facility used in the transportation of gas or hazardous liquid (KCC Monitor)
  • SB249 – Restructures and reorganizes Department of Oil and Gas administrative hearings (KCC Support)

If you wish to comment on any of these bills and resolutions, please contact Governor Bevin.

General Assembly Week Twelve: Budget to Conference Committee

We start this week approaching Day 56 of the 60-day KY legislative session. This week includes two working days, then begins a two-week veto period for Governor Bevin to consider bills. After that, lawmakers have 2 days to override vetoes or pass more bills.

This means that we only have a short time left to act, and that anything can happen in the days remaining. This week we continue to be focused on the two issues that have been our concern all session: Anti-residential solar legislation and the State Budget.

Governor Bevin’s budget contained a 6.25 percent budget cut to most state programs and eliminated state funding for 70 programs. While some of these programs have now been restored to either the House or Senate versions of the budget bill (HB200), the one issue on KCC’s radar is the fact that both the House and Senate versions still sweep $5 million from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, the state’s ONLY funding for land conservation and the maintenance of those lands.

In order to deal with the differences in both the House and Senate versions of the budget bill, it has been turned over to a special “free conference committee” representing both parties to work out the differences. That committee consists of Senators McDaniel, Thayer, Stivers II, Higdon, Wilson, Seum, Givens, Ridley, Jones II, and Parrett. and House members Osborne, Rudy, Shell, Meade, Bratcher, Carney, Tipton, Stone, Keene, Adkins.

See our Action Alerts page for the actions we ask you to take this week and watch for special mid-week alerts in these final days to act.

“Thank You’s” Needed:
We also want to take a moment to acknowledge two representatives who’s comments on the anti-residential solar bill were most important to the debate on solar. Please THANK Representative Jim Duplessis and Representative Tim Couch for their comments on HB227, and for supporting solar homeowners and standing up to utilities.