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A joint resolution declaring Kentucky a sanctuary state, not subject to the regulatory actions of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, has cleared a Senate committee.

Tom Fitzgerald of the Kentucky Resources Council spoke against the resolution, which mostly is a symbolic protest against stepped up EPA enforcement of federal Clean Water standards regulating coal mining.

“I understand your frustration,” he says to the bills supporters. “My concern is just that the remedy here is really to look at changing mine design in order to address the strata that have the sulfates and carbonates, rather than provoking what I think is a federal assumption of the water program.”

The resolution, sponsored by Senator Brandon Smith of Hazard, unanimously cleared the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee and awaits a Senate floor vote.