County leaders want to make sure the EPA hears their voice

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

It's a concept that's been around more than 15 years, but most people do not know what environmental justice is.

Former President Bill Clinton implemented environmental justice in 1994.

The environmental protection agency is planning to integrate environmental justice into their day to day activities with new regulations starting in 2014.

But, these new regulations have county officials looking to help fund a study.

"We will be able to show our point of view on what we have here in Appalachia," said Haven King with Coal Mining Our Future.

The EPA's website has a list of goals for this plan that will take effect in 20-4, most having to do with protecting people's health.

In making these regulations, the E-P-A is listening to stake holders in the business which is why Haven King says this study needs to be done.

"We need to have a say to what happens in our area here because our landscape is just so different, and it's going to target eastern Kentucky and Appalachia," said King.

"I think it needs to be done to prove that coal does not destroy people lives, it actually makes eastern Kentucky a better place to live," added Perry County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble.

The several county judge executives in attendance are willing to use either multi-county or single county coal severance money to fund this study because they see the importance of coal.

"Local government cannot work without severance money or coal severance money. And we have to make sure we are setting at the table when these regulations are going into effect," said Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward.

They plan to work together to ensure the coal industry in Kentucky can continue.

A meeting is planned with legislators later this week to see if they can use multi-county coal severance money to fund the study.

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