Environment

Despite the fact that federal carbon reduction rules have been put on hold, a Kentucky group is moving ahead with discussions about how the state should reduce its emissions.

The Clean Power Plan was stayed by the Supreme Court earlier this year, while multiple states — including Kentucky — challenge the rule in court. The regulation sets out carbon dioxide reduction goals for each state, and gives states the option of crafting their own plans to meet those goals.

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth announced last year that it would build a state plan for Kentucky by crowdsourcing ideas. At the time, there was a question of whether Kentucky would even submit a state plan, and the answer to that still isn’t clear.

Earlier this year, Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration announced it would seek an extension on the plan, and it scheduled several meetings to gather public input. But since the Supreme Court stayed the rule, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet canceled the meetings. It also laid off Assistant Secretary for Climate Policy John Lyons, who was working on the state’s options for complying with the rule.

But Kentuckians for the Commonwealth says it is still holding conversations about the potential plan, despite the setbacks. The effort, called Empower Kentucky, starts this week. There’s one conversation in each congressional district. Those will continue through May.

KFTC chair Dana Beasley Brown says the group will hold a summit in the fall, where it will make the plan public. She says if Kentucky doesn’t find a way to take advantage of and benefit from the regulations, it may be too late.

“The other states are moving forward and figuring out, ‘how do we compete in a new energy economy,’ and if we don’t do that, whether or not the Clean Power Plan is upheld in court, we’re going to be behind the ball and miss out on opportunities,” she says.

KFTC’s conversations kick off this week in Bowling Green. For a schedule, click here.