Environment

The regulator leading Kentucky’s response to the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations has been laid off from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.

John Lyons had worked in the cabinet since 1995 and said he is opting to retire early. In 2013, he was promoted to Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy under former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration. Since then, he’s been working to determine how to implement the regulatory pieces of federal climate change policies.

This has been a huge and politically fraught job in Kentucky, where many politicians have attacked the Clean Power Plan as regulatory overreach that will harm the state’s already-struggling coal industry.

The rule requires states to either submit a plan to comply or follow a federal blanket plan. As WFPL has previously reported, Gov. Matt Bevin has vocally opposed creating a state plan to comply with the regulations. Recently, the Energy and Environment Cabinet requested a two-year extension to submit a plan, but the regulations will likely be pushed back even further after the Supreme Court issued a stay last week.

Sources say other cabinet members were also laid off Tuesday.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely declined a request for an interview.

The Bevin Administration did not immediately return a request for comment.

Former General Counsel Mike Haines — who was demoted and transferred to the Department for Natural Resources earlier this month — announced his early retirement today via email.

This story will be updated.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's News Director.