Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Receives National Award for Battlefield Preservation Efforts

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 7, 2019) – The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF) received a State Preservation Leadership Award from the American Battlefield Trust this week for its role in preserving and protecting battlefields and historic sites throughout the Commonwealth.

During the annual gathering of its members in Lexington this week, American Battlefield Trust president James Lighthizer recognized KHLCF for its “monumental contribution” to the Perryville Battlefield state historic site. The site, located in Boyle County, saw the most important Civil War battle in the western theater.

Zeb Weese, KHLCF chairman and executive director of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves (KNP), said “we are honored to accept this award on behalf of the 40,000 Kentuckians who donate to the KHLCF each year through purchase of the nature license plates. They have made conserving these historic sites and natural areas possible.”

Since 1994, the KHLCF has funded the conservation of over 90,000 acres including portions of the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, the Battle of Munfordville at Green River Natural Area, Blue Licks Battlefield State Park and Nature Preserve, Tebb’s Bend Battlefield Heritage Area, Camp Nelson National Monument, Fort Heiman National Battlefield, and the Lincoln Boyhood Home.

The KHLCF is a program of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves (KNP) in the Energy and Environment Cabinet, and is funded in part by the sale of “Nature’s Finest” license plates.

During the event, three other awards were given. The Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award was given to Joni House, manager of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, the Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award went to Robert Hicks for his work in Franklin, Tennessee, and a second State Leadership Award was given to Kentucky State Parks.

The American Battlefield Trust is a national organization dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today.  The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 50,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War, including 2,856 acres in Kentucky and 3,516 acres in Tennessee.

Learn more about areas funded by the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund at https://eec.ky.gov/Nature-Preserves/ and the American Battlefield Trust at https://www.battlefields.org/.

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State Division of Waste Management Announces $4.6 Million in Grant Awards to Counties

Recycling, household hazardous waste, composting programs funded

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 4, 2019) – The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management today announced 49 recycling, 6 composting, and 29 household hazardous waste grants to expand recycling and composting infrastructure, reduce the amount of solid waste going into landfills, and improve the environmental management of household hazardous waste.

The Kentucky Pride Fund, which is generated by a $1.75 fee for each ton of municipal solid waste disposed of in Kentucky landfills, is financing the 84 grants totaling just over $4.6 million.

The grants require a 25-percent local match in the form of cash or “in kind” personnel, educational activities or advertising to promote the program from the cities or counties receiving the awards.

A complete list of grant recipients can be viewed here. Contact Grant White at grant.white@ky.gov or 502-782-6474 with any questions.

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Registration is Now Open for the 43rd annual Kentucky Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 4, 2019) – Early Bird registration is now open for the 43rd Kentucky Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment.

This annual conference offers opportunities to hear about the future of Kentucky’s energy and environmental policies.  Attendees receive a chance to engage in networking, participate in discussions, and talk with Kentucky’s environmental leaders. Session topics will include legislative, natural resources and environmental protection issues.

Tickets and information about conference events at the Lexington Convention Center on Friday, September 20 can be found by visiting here.

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Mining Death in Harlan County

Rex Coal Co. mine site of accident

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2019) – A 48-year-old coal miner passed away Thursday from injuries sustained in an accident on May 22 at a Harlan County mine. Felix (Matt) North, of Miracle, Ky., a miner operator with 12 years of experience, had suffered critical injuries at the Rex Coal Co. mine CVB#1 in Cumberland, Ky.

North, who began his shift at 2 p.m., was operating a continuous miner and positioning the machine’s cable and water line when the rib (wall) unexpectedly collapsed, causing injuries to his lower body. He was transported to Johnson City Medical Center where he remained in critical condition.

The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources, Division of Mine Safety, sent investigators to the site following the accident. All mining operations were shut down and remained closed until May 28, when the Division of Mine Safety approved an action plan submitted by the mine.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a Kentucky coal miner, Matt North, who was critically injured last week in an accident in Harlan County,” said Gov. Matt Bevin. “Citizens across Kentucky stand united in support of Matt’s family, friends and the entire Southeast Kentucky community as they mourn this tragic loss.

“To all those who recognize the power and comfort that comes from Divine intercession, I ask that you pray for peace and healing for each person affected by the untimely death of this hardworking man.”

The Division of Mine Safety began an inspection of the mine in April. It is ongoing.

“My deepest sympathies go out to the North family,” Kentucky Energy and Environment Secretary Charles G. Snavely said. “We work every day to keep miners safe and make mining a fatality free occupation.”

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Speeches, music and flags mark the beginning of the end of chemical weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot

RICHMOND, KY (May 29, 2019) – A military band, ribbon cutting and speech making by Senator Mitch McConnell,  Governor Matt Bevin, and others marked the beginning of the end at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) – a massive chemical weapons stockpile located there since the 1940s.

Beginning early in June, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) will use Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT) – a detonation chamber – to destroy about 15,000 mustard munitions. Destruction of the nerve agent, using neutralization and a supercritical water oxidation process, is expected later this year. The process will take approximately four years.

In his keynote address, Senator McConnell complimented the Richmond area community, military officials, BGAD personnel, and area resident Craig Williams, who helped found the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG).

“Together we made our voices heard, built this state-of-the-art facility, and protected the families of this wonderful community. Our system is at its best when citizens and entire communities lead,” McConnell said. “By working together we can make Kentucky a safer place for countless generations to follow.”

Gov. Bevin, who was joined by Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely, among others, in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, called the day a milestone for not only Kentucky but the rest of the country. “I appreciate our local, state and federal partners for working together to ensure that the plant operates safely and efficiently, as it carries out this important work,” Gov. Bevin said.

Blue Grass Chemical Activity (BGCA) is one of only two remaining storage sites for the nation’s chemical weapons stockpile of mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin and VX. Under an international treaty, the Army is committed to safely destroy these weapons, 523 tons in all, by the end of 2023.

The Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management (DWM) established the Bluegrass Army Depot Section in 2009 and has been entrusted to ensure compliance with all hazardous waste regulations through review and approval of permit applications; communication with stakeholders and the community; and oversight of the operation of the BGCAPP and EDT facilities.

During the past several years, DWM staff has participated in training that included inspections and plant tours, including visits to the EDT facilities in Pueblo, Colorado and Anniston, Alabama. Most recently, the staff has been meeting weekly with Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, the contractor at the facility, in preparation for phase I of the destruction process.

DWM also maintains a Richmond satellite office of six inspectors, who will have staff available around the clock to respond to any hazardous waste issues that may arise at the facility. Division inspectors will attend plant shift changeover meetings, stay familiar with the previous shift’s activities and in the next shift planning.

Staff will have onsite access and review of closed-circuit television and daily operating records and will perform hazardous waste inspections at areas storing or accumulating hazardous waste as part of demilitarization facility processes.

“I want to thank all the Cabinet employees, especially in the Division of Waste Management, who through their years of careful oversight, have brought us to this point today,” Secretary Snavely said. “We all have one goal – the safe and environmentally sound destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile at the depot.”

Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund receives American Battlefield Trust 2019 State Preservation Leadership Award

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2019) – Blue Licks battlefield, the site of one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War, might be the perfect example of how the worlds of historical preservation and nature conservation can collide.

It’s where famed frontiersman Daniel Boone led an attack against British and Canadian Loyalists – and it’s also one of only two places in the world where you can find Short’s goldenrod, a federally endangered species.

This kind of overlap is what prompts partnerships between preservation groups like the nature-focused Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF) and the history-focused American Battlefield Trust.

“If there’s a piece of land that has historic value and endangered species value or habitat value, you’ve got to look around and see how many people would really like to see this land protected,” KHLCF Board Chairman Zeb Weese said. “What kinds of coalitions can you put together to preserve it and make it available to the public?”

Because of the efforts of the KHLCF, the American Battlefield Trust, as part of its annual conference in Lexington, Thursday presented the fund with the 2019 State Preservation Leadership Award. The award is presented annually to agencies or individuals in state government that have made a lasting contribution to battlefield preservation.

Weese, who also serves as the executive director of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, accepted the award on behalf of KHLCF.

Unprotected battlefields are constantly threatened by private development, said Nicole Ryan, communications manager for the American Battlefield Trust. “Having these places destroyed takes away a piece of the American story,” she said.

KHLCF funds the acquisition of natural areas that fall into one of four categories: habitats for rare and endangered species, areas important to migratory birds, areas that perform important natural functions that are subject to alteration or loss and areas important for passive outdoor recreation (such as hiking or bird-watching).

Since KHLCF’s establishment in 1990, the fund has aided preservation of more than  2,700 acres of historically significant battlegrounds that are also natural areas. In addition to KHLCF’s work at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, the award recognizes the fund’s work at a number of other sites, including Tebb’s Bend in Taylor County and property in Hart County near the site of the Munfordville Battlefield.

In particular, the American Battlefield Trust wanted to recognize KHLCF’s “monumental contribution” to the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, said Adam Gillenwater, state and local relations manager for the American Battlefield Trust. The land, located in Boyle County, was the site of the most important Civil War battle in Kentucky.

The site encompasses 132 total acres, and KHLCF funded the acquisition of 75 acres important to the restoration of native grasses vital to songbirds and other wildlife species. Kentucky State Parks, also honored with a State Leadership Award this year, now manages the land under a KHLCF deed restriction.

Weese said he was thrilled to learn the fund was selected to be honored with this year’s award, particularly since it gave him the opportunity to speak to those interested in battlefield preservation about KHLCF’s conservation efforts.

“It’s more important than ever to look for partnerships and figure out how people can work together and agencies can work together,” he said.

Kentucky Water Treatment Plants Exceed Quality Standards

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 24, 2019) – The Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Water has recognized 37 surface water treatment plants in Kentucky for meeting the goals of Kentucky’s Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP), for 2018.

AWOP is a multi-state initiative administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of AWOP is to encourage drinking water systems to voluntarily achieve optimization goals that are more stringent than current regulations. Twenty-six states, including Kentucky, participate in AWOP. All of Kentucky’s public water systems are encouraged to participate in AWOP in order to provide the highest quality drinking water to their customers.

AWOP promotes improving the operation of existing facilities rather than implementing costly capital improvements. In doing so, the program provides tools and approaches for drinking water systems to meet water quality optimization goals and provide an increased and sustainable level of public health protection to consumers. In particular, the program emphasizes the reduction of turbidity and disinfection by-products through the drinking water treatment process. Turbidity, or cloudiness, is a measurement of particles in water including soil, algae, bacteria, viruses and other substances. Disinfection by-products are formed when chlorine, which is used for disinfection, reacts with organic material found in the source water.

Participating systems that meet the high standards of AWOP receive certificates in recognition of their accomplishments. “Together, these 37 drinking water treatment plants serve nearly one million Kentuckians,” said Jackie Logsdon, the Kentucky AWOP Coordinator. “This achievement demonstrates a high level of commitment to public health protection. The drinking water operators deserve our recognition and appreciation for optimizing operations and performance, allowing them to exceed requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Two water treatment plants received an AWOP Champion Award. This award takes into account the high level of turbidity optimization achieved, as well as the system’s overall compliance record for the previous three years. Glasgow Water Company was awarded the 2018 Champion Award for a large drinking water treatment plant (designed to produce 3 million or more gallons of water a day). Burkesville Water Works received the 2018 Champion Award for a small drinking water treatment plant (designed to treat less than 3 million gallons of water a day).

Fourteen AWOP drinking water systems received special recognition for achieving the AWOP turbidity goals 100 percent of the time in 2018. These include Barbourville Water and Electric, Bullock Pen Water District, Cave Run Regional Water Commission, Glasgow Water Company – Plant A, Jackson County Water Association, Jamestown Municipal Water Works, Laurel County Water District No. 2, Lawrenceburg Water and Sewer Department, Liberty Water Works, London Utility Commission, Louisa Water Department, Rattlesnake Ridge Water District, Western Fleming Water District, and Wood Creek Water District.

The following drinking water systems also received a certificate for meeting the AWOP turbidity criteria in 2018:

  • Barbourville Water and Electric
  • Bullock Pen Water District
  • Burkesville Water Works
  • Cave Run Regional Water Commission
  • Central City Water and Sewer
  • Century Aluminum
  • Cynthiana Municipal Water Works
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plants A and B
  • Hardin County Water District No. 2 – Plants A and B
  • Hodgenville Water Works
  • Hopkinsville Water Environment Authority
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jackson Municipal Water Works
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Kentucky American Water – Plants B and C
  • Kentucky State Penitentiary
  • Laurel County Water District No. 2
  • Lawrenceburg Water and Sewer Department
  • Leitchfield Water Works
  • Liberty Water Works
  • Logan Todd Regional Water Commission
  • London Utility Commission
  • Louisa Water Department
  • Madisonville Light and Water
  • McCreary County Water District – Plant B
  • Monroe County Water District
  • Morehead State University
  • Ohio County Water District
  • Rattlesnake Ridge Water District
  • Stanford Water Works
  • Versailles Water System
  • Western Fleming Water District
  • Wood Creek Water District

The following drinking water system received a certificate for meeting the AWOP disinfection by-products criteria in 2018:

  • Franklin Water Works

Find additional information about AWOP here or contact Jackie Logsdon at jackie.logsdon@ky.gov or 270-824-7529.