Environmental Pacesetter Award for an Individual/Organization: City of Berea, Kentucky Environmental Foundation and Sustainable Berea: As a joint project, the three entities developed a comprehensive energy plan for the City of Berea, “The Berea Energy Cost-Savings Plan,” which has a goal of reducing the city’s energy consumption by an annual average of 1 percent per capita by the year 2042 for a total 30-percent reduction, as well as a parallel 29-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Full length article available by the Lane Report, available here.
KENTUCKY CHEMICAL WEAPONS EXPERT WARY OF SYRIA September 25, 2014--Evidence of the recent use of chlorine gas against people in Syria raises questions about whether its regime is fully complying with an international chemical weapons agreement, according to a Kentucky expert helping to monitor the situation.
While chlorine is not prohibited under the chemical weapons treaty Syria signed, its use as a weapon is barred.
"I am very concerned that they still maintain some of that material and it has been used on civilian populations," said Craig Williams, director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation's Chemical Weapons Project, a citizens' watchdog group based in Berea, Ky.
Full length article written by James R. Carroll for the Courier-Journal, available here.
CONSTRUCTION WORK TO BEGIN NEXT MONTH ON BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT SITE TO DESTROY MUSTARD ROUNDS September 16, 2014 — Initial construction will begin next month on the Blue Grass Army Depot site where mustard-agent rounds will be exploded inside a steel detonation chamber. The site is next to the pilot plant that will eventually rid Madison County of nerve-agent munitions.
The Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection gave temporary authorization in August that allows site preparation and road improvements to begin, said Craig Williams, executive director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group, a Berea-based organization.
That authorization also allows utilities installation as well as construction of a support building and a control room building, said Jeff Brubaker, site project manager. Brubaker and Williams gave an update Tuesday at a quarterly meeting that addresses issues surrounding the destruction of chemical weapons.
The authorization does not allow construction of an enclosure building that will house the stainless steel containment vessel where the blister agent would be destroyed.
Full length article written by Greg Kocher for the Lexington Herald-Leader, available here.
EASTERN KENTUCKY CAN'T SOAR WITH RUINED WATER June 18, 2014--The Beshear administration seems bound and determined to let one of the governor's biggest political contributors ruin one of Kentucky's most beautiful and historic places — even if it puts coalfield drinking water supplies and the SOAR initiative at risk.
The state is proposing to lower a regulatory hurdle to coal mining within five miles upstream of a public water intake.
HOUSE, SENATE AGREE ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTRUCTION FUNDING June 11, 2014--Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed to spend nearly $596 million in the coming year on programs to destroy chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot and at Pueblo, Colo.
Craig Williams, co-chair of the Chemical Demilitarization Citizen’s Advisory Board, delivered that news to the panel Wednesday at its quarterly meeting. Chemical weapons at the both Kentucky and Colorado depots will be demilitarized by neutralization.
KEF Director Heather Warman, along with President of the Kentucky Coal Association Bill Bissett and Executive Director of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association Andrew McNeill discuss the downturn in Eastern Kentucky coal mining, other challenges to the mining industry, and hopes to rejuvenate or replace this important element of the Commonwealth's economy.
EKPC TO CLOSE CLARK POWER PLANT April 11, 2014--East Kentucky Power Cooperative announced Friday it plans to deactivate its coal-fired Dale Station generating plant near Ford in Clark County over the next year.
The plant’s operation will cease by April 2015.
EKPC supplies power to Blue Grass Energy and Clark Energy cooperatives that serve mostly rural sections of Madison County. The plant is across the Kentucky River from Madison County.
LOUISVILLE RANKED 25TH IN EPA TOP CITIES WITH ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED BUILDING April 10, 2014--Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that Louisville was recognized for its sustainability efforts, being ranked 25th in the 2014 Top Cities list with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings. Louisville is back on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency list after having last been recognized in 2010.
“I challenged property owners and managers last year to certify at least 25 buildings and the city responded in a big way,” Fischer said. “The EPA ranking confirms Louisville’s commitment to providing building owners and managers with the technical guidance, best practices and training they need to make their buildings more energy efficient, save money and reduce carbon emissions.”
Cities are ranked based on how many buildings achieved ENERGY STAR certification in 2013. The 25 newly certified buildings include 11 Kroger facilities, seven JCPS buildings, four Rite Aid’s, two Target stores and one UPS office.
LETTER ENCOURAGES OPEN DIALOGUE WITH COMMUNITIES ON SYRIA'S CHEMICAL WEAPONS DISPOSAL PLAN February 11, 2014--Craig Williams, director of KEF's Chemical Weapons Working Group, recently co-signed a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the importance of transparency in the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. A story on the letter and the subject can be viewed here; read the letter on KEF's blog.
KEF'S CRAIG WILLIAMS DISCUSSES SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN OP-ED January 28, 2014--In October 2013, Syria became the 190th country to agree to both declare and destroy their chemical weapons. Although this was good news for the international community, it unfortunately occurred after a half-dozen alleged uses of these chemicals, including in a deadly attack on Aug. 21, which left 1,400 people — many of them women and children — dead.
Upon joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, Syria ceded control of its chemical weapons stockpiles to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which recently was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to rid the planet of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction — the first such undertaking in history.
Now, after taking on that responsibility, huge challenges face the OPCW regarding how to dispose of Syria's stockpiles.