We accomplish our objectives by engaging in research and public education; improving public access to information; encouraging community participation in environmental decision-making processes; and building consensus among affected peoples, governments, nonprofits and businesses.
The Kentucky Environmental Foundation was founded in 1990 by Madison County, Kentucky residents focused on safe disposal of chemical weapons stockpiled at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Our vision was to ensure that the chemical weapons stored here were destroyed as safely and efficiently as possible, not with incineration as the Army proposed, but with a method that could prevent chemical agents and other toxins from being released into the environment.
The decision to move forward with safer weapons disposal in Kentucky came in 2002; our chemical weapons will be destroyed in a “closed loop” neutralization and supercritical water oxidation process. In 2006, Craig Williams, then KEF Director, was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for his and the CWWG’s dedication to safe weapons disposal. Through KEF’s Chemical Weapons Working Group, KEF continues to ensure Kentuckians are protected from harmful pollutants during chemical weapons destruction processes.
In 1991, KEF convened a conference of citizens living near other chemical weapons sites, who were also concerned about the Army’s plan to burn chemical weapons. That group became the Chemical Weapons Working Group coalition, which developed into an effective grassroots force for change in the Army’s chemical weapons program. The CWWG, with KEF as its lead organization, succeeded in defeating incineration at four of eight chemical weapons sites, where safe, non-incineration disposal technologies were chosen instead.
KEF was formed to protect Kentuckians’ health from the chemical exposure; we have since been an integral part of Kentucky’s environmental health and justice movement. For the past 25 years, KEF has participated in many state, regional and national environmental health and justice campaigns and in collaboration with others working to address air, water and soil pollution from both fossil fuels and hazardous waste manufacturing, storage and incineration.