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Kentucky Students Push for State Clean Energy Bill

David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition is touring the Commonwealth to promote passage of proposed state House Bill 229, also known as the Clean Energy Opportunity Act.  KSEC representatives, along with State Senator Reggie Thomas, met Thursday at Murray State University with representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority and members of the region’s renewable energy industry.  

The proposed legislation requires Kentucky’s regulated utilities to increase investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next decade.  North Carolina passed a similar law in 2007, and saw creation of some 37,000 clean energy jobs.  KSEC state organizer Cara Cooper cites a study from the Massachusetts-based research and consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics showing that Kentucky could benefit in a similar way. “A net of 28 thousand new jobs in that ten year period.  And that’s a net, including people losing jobs and coming on board,” said Cooper

Sen. Reggie Thomas, a Democrat from Lexington, is considering sponsoring the bill in his chamber.  He says he can’t see why Kentucky can’t adopt what he calls an “all-or-nothing” approach. “Speaker Stumbo said that he thinks it’s foolish for America’s energy policy doesn’t include coal.  I agree with Speaker Stumbo on that.  I think he’s right.  But I think, on the same tone,  I think it’s foolish here in Kentucky not include renewable energy,” said Thomas

KSEC’s one day tour stop in Murray also included presentations from regional solar companies, and window manufacturer, Pella. 

Todd Hatton hails from Paducah, Kentucky, where he got into radio under the auspices of the late, great John Stewart of WKYX while a student at Paducah Community College. He also worked at WKMS in the reel-to-reel tape days of the early 1990s before running off first to San Francisco, then Orlando in search of something to do when he grew up. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Murray State University. He vigorously resists adulthood and watches his wife, Angela Hatton, save the world one plastic bottle at a time.
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