- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Some are questioning whether the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission should continue to exist, given its lack of support from lawmakers or state administration officials.

Created in 1972, the commission once functioned as a semi-independent watchdog over state environmental programs and participated in the development of Kentucky environmental policy, the Courier-Journal (https://cjky.it/2jVooVi ) reports. It also has provided a forum for discussions on issues ranging from mining to factory-scale farming to children’s environmental health.

In recent years the commission has suffered from budget cuts and a lack of political support. It currently has no executive director and only four of seven board positions filled. After lawmakers cut back the commission‘s funding over the years, the Cabinet folded it into the energy secretary’s budget.

“If there isn’t a commitment to it, is there really a need for it?” commission chair Steve Coleman asked. “Has the EQC been missed this past year? There doesn’t seem to be an outcry.”

Commissioner Ron Brunty acknowledged that the board now spends most of its time trying to justify its existence.

Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman John Mura declined a request from the newspaper for an interview about the commission‘s future.

“As with every agency program, the purpose and value of EQC must be evaluated to determine its priority relative to other core functions that the cabinet is required to administer and in relation to the funding provided by the legislature,” Mura said in an email.

It’s now up to lawmakers to decide the future of the commission, he said.


Information from: The Courier-Journal, https://www.courier-journal.com

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