Saturday, December 03, 2011

Top Ky. environmentalist quits state boards, citing governor's cuts and firing of strip-mine overseer

Kentucky's leading environmentalist resigned from two state boards yesterday to protest the environmental and energy policies of newly re-elected Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, the proximate cause being the firing of the chief strip-mine regulator.

Attorney Tom Fitzgerald is director of the Kentucky Resources Council, the state's leading environmental lobby. He quit the boards of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council and the Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship, telling Beshear in a letter, "I cannot in good conscience continue to serve as your appointee to either Board in light of the current Administration’s environmental and energy policies."

Fitzgerald said Beshear's 26 percent budget cuts in environmental programs and called "indefensible" the fact that only one program "collects from regulated sources the fees necessary to offset the cost of regulation." He said the firing of Natural Resources Commissioner Carl Campbell, who was trying to increase reclamation bonds in the face of industry resistance, shows "the administration has lost its bearing regarding regulation of the coal industry." Many coal interests supported Beshear's re-election campaign.

FitzGerald said Campbell was trying to apply the "cumulative hydrologic impact assessment" on strip-mine permits "for the first time in 29 years, and to stem the disturbing trend of towards greater numbers of violations within the coal industry." He said the industry's compliance rate last year was the lowest since 1990. For the full letter, click here.

"Beshear said in a statement that he was disappointed FitzGerald had resigned," Tom Loftus of The Courier-Journal reports.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i wonder how the gov can sleep at night, knowing to get coal industry support he sold out the future of kentucky, the people of kentucky, the children. i've worked in campaigns, "whoring" for votes is something i understand, but i thought he was a little above this kind of whoring. someday his grandkids will real history books.