Governor Beshear Urges Caution as Wildfire Hazard Season Begins October 1

Extra vigilance is urged; Kentucky outdoor burning law in place

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 29, 2022) – Governor Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman urged every Kentuckian to be alert as Fall wildfire hazard season in Kentucky begins October 1, bringing outdoor burning restrictions to the state.

“With regions of the Commonwealth recovering from flooding damage, it is especially important that all Kentuckians be vigilant with fire safety when outdoors,” Gov. Beshear said. “Think of others so that we can all be safe.”

The Commonwealth’s outdoor burning law (KRS149.400) prohibits burning between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (prevailing local time), if the fire is within 150 feet of any woodland, brushland, or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials. These restrictions are in effect every fall (October 1 – December 15) and spring (February 15 – April 30) to help prevent wildfires.

“With Kentuckians heavily impacted by natural disasters over the last nine months, the division will continue to work hard to protect our fellow citizens and wildlife,” said Brandon Howard, Kentucky’s State Forester and Director of the Division of Forestry. “We ask that if debris burning occurs, take proper precautions to prevent fires from escaping and becoming wildfires.”

The Division of Forestry responds to more than 1,000 wildfires annually across the state. Studies show that 99% of all wildfires in Kentucky are from human activity. Arsonists start over half of the wildfires, and the second leading cause is debris fires that escape. If a fire escapes from the burning of debris, immediately contact the nearest Division of Forestry field office, or the local fire department.

The Commonwealth has more than 12 million acres of forested area, with almost all of them available for timber production. This acreage also provides a critical habitat for many game and nongame wildlife species, including deer, turkey, elk, and black bears.

“It is vitally important that we don’t lose any of this resource due to carelessness with fire,” Cabinet Secretary Goodman said. “Please be responsible and be safe.”

To help prevent wildfires, KDF recommends the following precautions:

  • Be aware of all outdoor burning restrictions, including forest fire hazard seasons, air pollution regulations, restrictions imposed by local ordinances, and county burn bans.
  • The Kentucky Division for Air Quality has information on addressing the disposal of storm and flood debris at https://eec.ky.gov/Environmental-Protection/Air/Documents/StormDebris082720.pdf
  • Avoid burning debris during fire hazard seasons and during times of dry, windy conditions. Outdoor burning is illegal between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland during wildfire hazard seasons.
  • Incorporate “Firewise” practices around homes and communities in forested areas. Firewise practices include creating a defensible space around homes by removing leaves, debris, and firewood to ensure access for safety personnel and equipment in rural or isolated areas.
  • Report suspicious acts of arson to the nearest Kentucky State Police post or call the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.

Contact your local fire department or county judge-executive’s office for questions regarding local burn bans. Residents should call the Division for Air Quality at 1-888-BURN-LAW to learn about other specific regulations before burning anything.

For more on the Kentucky Division of Forestry, and the wildland fire management program, visit http://bit.ly/KyWildfireMgmt.

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Bad Branch State Nature Preserves to close until March 1, 2023

Frankfort, KY. –(Sept. 28, 2022)– Bad Branch State Nature Preserve in Letcher County will be closed until March 1, 2023 for ecological recovery and trail system repair following significant damage that occurred to trail infrastructure during the recent flooding. During this closure, The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy will be working to re-stabilize the trail system and make improvements to increase the safety for hikers. Most importantly, this time will allow for the recovery of the biodiversity of the site. We look forward to re-opening this important site and ask for the cooperation of regular users. Until then, please visit our website to view alternative hiking locations https://eec.ky.gov/Nature…/Locations/Pages/default.aspx

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Gov. Beshear Working to Bring Hydrogen Investments, Jobs to Kentucky

Bipartisan group of governors form Midwest Hydrogen Coalition to advance hydrogen development across the region

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 19, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear said he was working to bring hydrogen investments and jobs to Kentucky by working with fellow governors in six states to advance a hydrogen market, supply chain and workforce development across the Midwest region.

Gov. Beshear joins governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in creating a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition (M-H2 Coalition). The coalition provides a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that will spur new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience and improve public health by reducing pollution.

“Kentucky’s robust infrastructure, strong chemical and manufacturing base, along with our leadership in the automotive and logistics sectors position us as a natural location for economic development in hydrogen,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are looking forward to working with our Midwest and local industry partners to build a hydrogen economy in Kentucky.”

Hydrogen can be produced through fossil, renewable and nuclear resources. The energy density and energy carrying capacity of hydrogen make it an attractive cleaner fuel option for transportation, aviation and industrial uses as well as electricity generation applications.

With its extensive freight and pipeline network and underground storage areas, Kentucky has the energy infrastructure to support, enhance or expand hydrogen production, hydrogen distribution and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure.

Kentucky is also uniquely located at the center of a 34-state distribution area for shipping products by truck or rail across the Eastern United States, placing the commonwealth within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.

In 2021, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky announced a $461 million upgrade to its Georgetown manufacturing plant, which starting next year will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell (FC) modules destined for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks.

The state’s Regional Hydrogen Hub Workgroup was formed earlier this year to develop projects around the use of hydrogen, such as natural gas blending or transportation fuel. Hydrogen is one component of Kentucky’s energy strategy, KYE3.

“This strategy will move the state forward by connecting job creators, energy providers and environmental stewards with communities to create a sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.

In July, Kentucky Interstates 64, 65 and 75 were approved by the Federal Highway Administration as hydrogen transportation corridors, supporting the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure on those key freight corridors. The approval of these three corridors signals the importance of transportation connectivity to a nationwide hydrogen economy.

“The automotive industry is undergoing fundamental change,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “We’re looking to the future, and alternative fuels will offer consumers more choices to power their drives. Kentucky, already becoming the capital of electric vehicle battery production, and now with three interstates designated as hydrogen fuel corridors, is ideally positioned for a leadership role.”

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2022 Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing Contest Announced

This year’s theme: soil conservation


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2022)
 – The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in cooperation with the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts and the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, announce the 2022 Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contest.

This annual contest helps students from across the commonwealth learn about natural resources and their importance.  This year, students will learn about Kentucky’s soil; what it is made of, why it is important and how it can be conserved. 

Sponsors have provided articles, suggested activities, and fun facts and trivia to help students understand the importance of soil. A tabloid, entitled “Take A Hike, Navigating the Trail,” can be used by teachers in the classroom, as well as by students at home. 

The art contest, for grades one through five, and writing contest, for grades six through 12, allow students to use the knowledge they have gained about the topic and transform it into creative artwork and written essays. Entries should focus on encouraging action toward good soil conservation practices.

Paulette Akers, director of the Kentucky Division of Conservation said, “Although soil is literally underfoot all the time, we often take it for granted. I am so glad that the Jim Claypool Art and Conservation Writing contest reminds us of the amazing things about soil and what we can do to help maintain productive soils and prevent soil erosion.”

The conservation writing and art contests began in 1944 and 1974, respectively. James B. Claypool was the first assistant director of the Division of Conservation and was hired in 1947. He became director in 1960. A Warren County native, Claypool was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and taught vocational-agriculture at Bradfordsville and Greensburg High Schools. As director of the division, he was instrumental in the expansion of conservation education in Kentucky. He died in 1974.

Schools and home school students should choose their winning entries and submit those to the local conservation district by Dec. 1. The county will then narrow the entries and send finalists to the cabinet for state judging.

Students can earn monetary prizes at the school, county, regional and state levels. County winners will receive $25 from the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation. Area winners receive $50. State first, second and third place winners receive $250, $150 and $50 respectively. Many local conservation districts and other sponsors also provide prizes. 

For more information about the contest, please visit your local conservation district office or http://bit.ly/ClaypoolArtWritingContest.

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Kentucky Division of Forestry to Host White Oak Restoration Tour

Morgan County Tree Nursery site of 10-year celebration to restore Kentucky’s White Oaks

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2022) – Join the Kentucky Division of Forestry and its partners September 26, 2022, at 10 a.m. Eastern time to celebrate the 10-year recovery of the Morgan County Nursery (MCN) and the unique White Oak Seedling Collection and Study, the largest white oak genetic improvement study in the eastern United States. 

Dr. Laura DeWald, geneticist and White Oak Genetic Program coordinator with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources will lead a tour of the study site.  Representatives with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, US Forest Service, University of Kentucky Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Maker’s Mark, the Forest Health Research and Education Center, and the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits at the University of Kentucky, all essential players in the program, will be on hand for the tour. 

What:White Oak Seedling Collection and Study Tour
When:Monday, September 26, 2022
10 a.m. Eastern time
Where:Morgan County Tree Nursery
326 Tree Nursery Road
West Liberty, Kentucky
Agenda:The agenda will include a tour of the study site, an explanation of the program and restoration process, involvement of numerous partners, and the broad benefits and impacts of this initiative.

The program involves the collection of white oak acorns from across the geographic range where the species naturally occurs, documenting the location of the parent trees. Acorns have been collected from 34 states in the eastern U.S. with the first acorns planted at MCN in October 2019.

The extensive, impactful study to conserve and restore the nation’s white oaks began in 2016 with grant funding from the USDA Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration Program, and support from the Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits and the White Oak Initiative. More information on the White Oak Genetic Program can be found at https://white-oak-genetics.ca.uky.edu/. For questions regarding the event, email Bridget.Abernathy@ky.gov.

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State Publishes Fish Testing Report on PFAS Levels

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency working on regulations, understanding risk

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2022) – While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works on regulations and understanding the human risk levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in surface water, drinking water and fish, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, as some other states have done, today published fish tissue PFAS levels.

The cabinet’s Department for Environmental Protection (DEP) will continue to test for PFAS in Kentucky and communicate reports and consumption guidance to Kentuckians.

PFAS are a large group of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used for decades in the United States and in other countries. Studies have shown that people can be exposed to PFAS through contaminated drinking water, food or food packaging, as well as stain-repellent carpets and upholstery, nonstick cookware and water-repellent clothing and gear. High levels of PFAS exposure over a lifetime are associated with a wide range of human health effects.

Fish Testing
The DEP caught and sampled fish from Gunpowder Creek in Boone County, South Elkhorn Creek in Woodford County, West Hickman Creek in Jessamine County, Otter Creek in Meade County, a tributary of North Elkhorn Creek in Fayette County and Northern Ditch and Southern Ditch (also known as Pond Creek) in Jefferson County between 2021-22.

The department also in early 2022 tested fish tissue previously collected from 13 lakes: Boltz Lake, Lake Carnico, Cave Run Lake, Cedar Creek Lake, Elmer Davis Lake, Fagan Branch Lake, Guist Creek Lake, Herrington Lake, Liberty City Lake, Sand Creek Lake, Shanty Hollow Lake, South Lake as well as W FK Drakes Reservoir.

The fish tissue sampled showed perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), a chemical in the PFAS group, at levels that ranged between 0.31 and 50 parts per billion (ppb). Sixteen other PFAS were detected at concentrations of 18 ppb or less.

Fish species collected and tested included largemouth and smallmouth bass, rock bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, green sunfish and longear sunfish. The full report can be found HERE.

“As other states wrestle with these same issues, our agency thought it important to make these results known to the public so that they could make healthy choices when eating locally caught fish,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman. “We believe that the mercury-based consumption guidelines that are suggested, especially for sensitive populations, are reasonable and prudent.

“It is important to note that this study covers only a small portion of the state’s waters. The cabinet will continue to make additional information available as additional testing is done.”

Staff from the DEP, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Department for Public Health work together to develop and implement consumption advisories for fish in the state. Fish consumption guidance, including recommended consumption thresholds for mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), is available on the Division of Water and Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources webpages.

While the 2022 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide was printed before this latest guidance related to PFAS, State officials recommend:

  • Citizens follow existing statewide fish consumption guidance for mercury and other site-specific advisories.
  • The general population eat no more than one meal per month of predatory fish and no more than one meal per week of panfish and bottom feeder fish.
  • Sensitive populations, such as women of childbearing age, young children, pregnant or nursing women, and women who plan to become pregnant, eat no more than six meals per year of predatory fish and no more than one meal per month of panfish and bottom feeder fish.

Fish are an important nutritional food so the public should consider a variety of sources, including locally caught fish, store-bought fish, and fish available at dining establishments. 

Find frequently asked questions regarding the testing of PFAS in fish here.

EPA
While the EPA does not have water or fish tissue standards for PFAS, it recently issued interim lifetime health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and PFOS in drinking water that reduced their previous advisory levels. The current EPA health advisory for PFOA is 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt) and PFOS is 0.02 ppt. The EPA also issued final lifetime health advisories for two other types of PFAS, PFBS and GenX. The health advisory level for PFBS is 2,000 ppt and GenX is 10 ppt.

The EPA is in the process of establishing regulatory maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS compounds in drinking water. Additional details of the agency’s overall strategy regarding PFAS can be found in the PFAS Strategic Roadmap (2021).

State Drinking Water Testing
The DEP began testing state waters for PFAS in 2019 by sampling drinking water from 81 community public drinking water treatment plants across the state. Results from that study are summarized in this report, available on the Division of Water’s PFAS webpage. In 2020, DEP collected and analyzed water samples from 40 surface water locations statewide. Results from that study also are available.

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Dear Colleagues,

Has there ever been a more exciting time for Kentucky’s energy landscape and its impact on the environment and new jobs? Equally exciting is the once in a lifetime investment in infrastructure available to communities. Now you can be part of the historic transition as the Commonwealth, and our nation, moves toward new horizons in energy, the environment and economy.

The 46th annual Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment October 16-18 will bring together the state’s top leadership, including Gov. Andy Beshear and Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.

You’ll hear the latest from national environmental agencies such as the EPA’s Southeast Region Administrator and the U.S. Department of Energy. Build connections with industry leaders from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky Utilities, NiSource (Columbia Gas), TC Energy, Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation, Lexmark and more. And collaborate with community trailblazers, including eKAMI’s Kathy Walker, Bluegrass Greensource’s Amy Sohner, and Ecostrat’s Jordan R. Solomon. See our exciting and growing speaker lineup HERE.

As a thought-leader yourself, you are a valuable asset to these discussions and the decisions that are being made about Kentucky’s future. We need you at the table!

Come early and learn the tips and tricks of obtaining the most money for your local project through our pre-conference workshop Sunday afternoon. Stay late and enjoy the Fall Meet at Kentucky’s renowned Keeneland racecourse or get an inside look at the operations of Kentucky’s two leading industries, horses and bourbon, with tours of one of the area’s premier horse farms and local distilleries.

Take advantage of the early bird special. Registration at a discount is available now! Secure your spot at https://bit.ly/ConferenceonEandE. We can’t wait to see you!

Yours Sincerely,

Amanda LeFevre

Amanda LeFevre,
Deputy Commissioner
Department for Environmental Protection

Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission  to Meet September 19

Videoconference will begin at 9 a.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 7, 2022) – The Kentucky Soil and Water Conservation Commission will hold a meeting Monday, September 19 at 9 a.m. Eastern time. This meeting will be held by videoconference.

Anyone who wants to attend virtually can follow this link (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84553623580?pwd=NTFSMUZCak5tVG9GcG5YcTN6eFFaUT09) or join with Zoom meeting ID 845 5362 3580 and password SWCC.

Anyone who wants to view the September 19 meeting in person can attend at 300 Sower Boulevard in Frankfort.

If you have questions, please contact Johnna McHugh at 502-782-6703.

AGENDA

  1. Call to order and introductions
  2. Swearing in of new member
  3. Minutes of the last meeting
  4. Agency reports
  5. Correspondence
  6. Equipment report
  7. Approval of vacancy petitions and incentive per diem
  8. Agriculture district program
  9. Old business
  10. New business
  11. Adjourn

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Kentucky Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee to Meet September 16

In-person meeting or videoconference option begins at 9 a.m. Eastern time

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 6, 2022) – The Kentucky Division of Forestry will host the 2022 Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee Meeting on Friday, September 16, at 9 a.m. Eastern time. This will be an opportunity to discuss the initiatives of and updates to the Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy Programs.

Attend in person at 300 Sower Boulevard, Room 432, Frankfort, Kentucky. If you prefer to attend virtually, you can do so via Zoom at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85312868346, with meeting ID – 85312868346 and Password – 503534

AGENDA

Introduction / Roll call
KDF Director & KY State Forester Brandon Howard

Forest Stewardship National and Regional Program update
US Forest Service Forest Stewardship Coordinator Lynn Lewis

Kentucky Forest Stewardship Program update
KDF Forest Management Chief Pam Snyder

New NRCS agreement
KDF Assistant Director & KY Deputy State Forester Bridget Abernathy

New on-line seedling store
KDF Forest Management Branch Manager Charlie Saunders

Forest Legacy update
KDF Forest Legacy Program Coordinator Chase Terry

Other & new topics
KDF Director & KY State Forester Brandon Howard

Wrap-up
KDF Director & KY State Forester Brandon Howard

If you are able to attend in person, please RSVP to Bridget.Abernathy@ky.gov.

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Kentucky Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Council to Meet September 13

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 6, 2022) – The next meeting of the Drinking Water and Clean Water Advisory Council will be on Tuesday, September 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87370005180 
Meeting ID: 873 7000 5180 
One tap mobile 
+13017158592,,87370005180# US (Washington DC) 
+13092053325,,87370005180# US 
For assistance with meeting access, please contact Kim Greenidge at Kim.Greenidge@ky.gov or (502) 782-6630

Agenda (Subject to change)

Welcome and opening remarks – Director Carey Johnson, Division of Water

Discussion items – Director Carey Johnson
     Emergency / disaster recovery
     Discussion/questions about updated SRF guidance 
     2024 CWSRF Guidance 
     2024 DWSRF Guidance Document.pdf (ky.gov) 
     PFAS developments – policy & treatment

Division of Water focus items – Assistant Director John Webb, Division of Water

Presentations:
     Water Workforce Survey – Donna McNeil / Valerie Lucas

Committee reports – Director Carey Johnson
     Compliance & regulations
     Lead In dinking water
     Nutrients
     PFAS
     Small wastewater systems

Announcements facilitated by Director Carey Johnson

DWAC/CWAC remaining meeting schedule for 2022 (2nd Tuesday of the last month of the quarter): December 13.

DWAC/CWAC tentative meeting schedule for 2023 (2nd Tuesday of the last month of the quarter): March 14, June 13, September 12, December 12.

Adjourn

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