General Assembly 2014 Wrap-Up
The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up on April 15, and KYSEA is proud to report that we had an excellent session building support, mobilizing citizen lobbyists and advancing the conversation around clean energy in Kentucky. Though our first attempt at a Lobby Day was snowed out, several folks were able to safely make it to Frankfort and held many positive meetings with legislators. This momentum kept going during our rescheduled lobby day on February 26 in support of our bill, the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian. Between the two lobby days, nearly 40 KYSEA representatives spoke with 44 legislators and received more support than we ever have in the past. The jobs and economic opportunities in clean energy, particularly energy efficiency, are gaining traction.
The information-only hearing on our bill was held on March 6 before the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee. Chairman Keith Hall gave us nearly the entire hearing to testify on what this bill will bring to Kentucky. Afterwards, Rep. Hall spoke with us at length about how important energy efficiency is to his constituents in Eastern Kentucky.
Thanks to everyone who lobbied hard for this bill and helped to make our hearing so successful. We know that next year will be even better!
There were several other energy-related bills that KYSEA tracked during the session.
In the House:
- HB 52: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Did not receive a hearing.
- HB 63: Would require a 30-day supply of fuel on-site for power plants. Since it’s difficult to store natural gas on-site, this was a bill to support the coal industry. It received a hearing but no vote.
- HB 291: Increases public participation and clarifies setbacks for the siting of electric facilities. Became law.
- HB 388: Allows the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to set emissions reductions standards for coal-fired power plants, rather than the federal EPA. Became law.
Note: This was a “just-for-show” bill because state law cannot supersede federal law.
- HB404: Would establish a structure for Property Assessed Clean Energy projects, which allows for commercial retrofits to be paid back through property taxes. Passed the House but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
- HB535: Would raise the net metering limit from 30kW to 500kW. Did not receive a hearing.
- HB489: Would allow smaller Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) to participate in state projects. Did not receive a hearing.
- HB573: Essentially would require the Public Service Commission to review the proposal to close of the Big Sandy coal-fired power plant. Passed out of Committee but did not receive a hearing on the House floor.
In the Senate:
- SB67: Would require nuclear power plants only to have a plan for storage of nuclear waste, not a way to permanently dispose of it. Passed in the Senate but did not receive a hearing in the House.
- SB153: Allows for use of state pollution prevention funds as a match for federal funds to provide technical assistance for energy efficiency projects. Became law.
We are excited for the opportunities the next legislative session will bring. As always, we invite you to get involved with KYSEA and share your thoughts and ideas for bringing clean energy policy to Kentucky.