Written by KEF Outreach Coordinator Shelly Biesel as an op-editorial for the Courier-Journal, find the original version here.
Perhaps the most accurate statement regarding the 2015 Government Spending Bill came from Sen. John McCain, who was quoted saying "it's jammed full of sh--." The "cromnibus" bill appropriates $1.01 trillion, and will keep most government offices in operation through September. Though House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers called the bill "a win for Kentucky," it depends on how you look at it. Personally, the bill makes me uneasy. Here's why:
Written by KEF Director Heather Warman as an op-editorial for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Find the original op-ed here.
Earlier this month, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its Fifth Assessment Report—a sobering document that outlines both the human effects on climate change and the consequences of inaction. Specifically, the report cites the dithering by our elected leaders as worsening the situation, as greenhouse gas emissions are increasing more dramatically than ever. However, the report did offer a ray of hope: that there is still a window of time to begin reversing the effects of climate change, and that the political will to do so is rising around the world.
Unfortunately, that is not the case here in Kentucky. Many of our elected officials and candidates continue to deny the existence of climate change, or that much of it is manmade. The coal industry continues to exert its influence on this issue, branding any efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as a fictional War on Coal.
Article Written by Erica Peterson for WFPL. Find the original story here.
In the wake of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, President Obama has issued an executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical manufacturing facilities. The measure will likely have implications for Louisville’s Rubbertown.
Obama’s executive order tasks government officials with evaluating the feasibility of sharing information about dangerous chemicals among state, tribal and local emergency response commissions. It establishes a working group, and sets that within 45 days, the group will launch a pilot program to test best practices for sharing crucial information, improving collaboration and streamlining chemical plant inspections. Within nine months, the president wants a “unified federal approach to identify and respond to risks” in chemical plants.
Written by KEF Health Coordinator Deborah Payne as an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Find the original version here.
President Barack Obama released his new climate action plan, a set of measures to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the vast array of challenges our country will experience from a warming planet.
Many welcome this package as long overdue. Heat waves and powerful storms are showing up with life-threatening frequency. Carbon dioxide has accumulated in the atmosphere at levels many fear are irreversible. Diseases that have only affected people in tropical climates are now moving into the southern U.S.
Others, including most of Kentucky's federal legislators, think the climate action plan is a war plan.
But creating an enemy of the federal government on a climate plan is picking the wrong fight.
Statement from KEF's Director Elizabeth Crowe:
"Kentucky is one of the worst in the nation for toxic outputs from coal plants; pollution that is linked to serious lung and heart disease and other illnesses. Public health researchers have noted that across the country, people are experiencing more severe allergies, more insect-related diseases etc. that may be related to climate change. Kentuckians are not immune to these impacts. At first blush, it appears that the President's climate action plan could result in a much-needed reduction in pollution, which can also result in better health for Kentucky residents regardless of whether one believes that climate change is real.
We'd like for Kentucky utility and industry leaders, economic development leaders, health professionals, parents, policy makers and citizens to spend less time resisting federal action on coal pollution and climate change, and more time utilizing this opportunity to construct a healthier, more economically resilient energy future. Making these changes won't be easy, but it's necessary work."
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