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Agency Heads Discuss Key Regulatory Initiatives at Environmental Quality Commission Annual Meeting

The Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) held its annual planning meeting August 4-5 in Frankfort. The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Division of Enforcement, the Division for Air Quality (DAQ), the Division of Water (DOW) and other agencies updated the EQC on their strategic plans for the coming year.

Energy and Environment Cabinet

Secretary Peters announced that the EEC is drafting a comprehensive energy plan to be presented to Governor Beshear in September. The principles guiding the formulation of the plan include: (1) the effective and responsible use of coal; (2) the management of carbon; (3) the assistance of low-income consumers with rising energy costs; and (4) the economic development of the Commonwealth. In formulating the plan, the Secretary is analyzing renewable energy sources (wind, solar, and biomass), clean coal technologies (coal to liquids and coal to gas), natural gas technologies (syngas), and nuclear power options for the state's future energy needs. Following the Governor's approval, EEC will make the plan available for review and comment.

Department of Environmental Protection

DEP Commissioner Bruce Scott announced that DEP is working on a major web-based initiative. In the near future, permit applications, registrations, reports, and fee transmittals will be web-based and will be modeled after the Division of Mine Permits' on-line permitting system. In addition, Commissioner Scott announced that DEP will post an annual Strategic Management Plan on its website and analyze compliance with its strategic plan annually. The current FY09 Strategic Management Plan can be found at www.dep.ky.gov. Finally, Commissioner Scott noted that DEP will be focused on substantial budget reductions, the replacement of lost expertise due to the significant number of retirements of experienced staff, and the movement of DEP staff to a single, unified office location.

Division of Enforcement

Acting Director Jeff Cummins announced that the Division would continue to evaluate and implement the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects or SEPs in the settlements of enforcement actions. Examples of past SEPs include the installation of in-stream gauging stations, alternate water supply development, and nonpoint source projects. The EQC announced that it will assist by developing a list of potential SEPs on a county-by-county basis. The Division's enforcement initiatives for FY09 include underground storage tank sites, secondary aluminum MACT, and wet weather compliance programs (CSOs, SSOs, and MS4s).

Division for Air Quality

DAQ Director John Lyons announced that the Agency will be making its recommended designations of nonattainment areas under the new 8-hour ozone standard in June 2009. A number of Kentucky counties are expected to be identified as in nonattainment. DAQ will work with the League of Cities to discuss the impacts of nonattainment on economic development with county officials. Director Lyons also announced that DAQ is developing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory for Kentucky, and that DAQ is currently evaluating whether the inventory should go beyond stationary sources. DAQ is also waiting for direction from U.S. EPA following the recent vacatur of the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Division of Water

DOW Director Sandy Gruzesky announced that the agency was working on the development of TMDLs for impaired waters. Director Gruzesky also announced that the agency was evaluating permitting fee increases.


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