When: Monday, February 12, 2018 at 3:00PM EST
Where: Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda
Media Contact: Grace Engelman
Political Working Group Media Chair
For too long, Kentucky’s youth have been portrayed as apathetic by the media and elected officials alike. Our demands for sustainable solutions to climate change and our calls for justice have fallen on deaf ears long enough. We refuse to be ignored any longer. KSEC’s Rise Up Kentucky Rally will show the establishment it should be paying closer attention to the voices of young people. We know that, together, we can create a new status quo: one with a just transition from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy, a more politically engaged society, and safer communities. Our elected officials can either join us in creating a brighter future, or get out of the way.
FRANKFORT--- Members of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition met with some of the state’s legislators on Friday afternoon. Students attended the lobby day in the hopes of discussing the placement of the Energy Opportunity Act, a bill KSEC worked to get introduced in the Senate. The students strategized for the upcoming session, discussing key legislators to meet with in order to get the bill passed.
In passing the Energy Opportunity Act, Kentucky would adopt a renewable and energy efficiency portfolio standard that would increase utility companies’ renewable energy production by 12.5 percent and increase energy efficiency by 10.25 percent over the next 10 years. The legislation also introduces of feed-in tariffs to Kentucky utilities, which would give Kentuckians the opportunity to become energy entrepreneurs.
“This bill would bolster the state’s economy and citizens’ pocketbooks. A study from Synapse Energy Economics found that this bill would create upwards of 28,000 jobs and save consumers 8 to 10 percent on their energy bills,” high school student and KSEC member Grace Engelman said. “It makes a lot of sense to pass this bill, so I am hopeful that our legislators reach across party lines to get it through to the governor.”
Representative Mary Lou Marzian and Senator Reginald Thomas were among the legislators KSEC met with on Friday. Rep. Marzian sponsors the Energy Opportunity Act in the House and Sen. Thomas sponsors the bill in the Senate.
Nate Cortas, UK Greenthumb Media Coordinator
Phone: (502)-240-8531 | Email: email@example.com
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY -- Students at the University of Kentucky have claimed victory in their four-year campaign for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the university. President Eli Capilouto cited student leadership when he announced plans last week to reduce the institution’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 2010 levels by 2025. Members of the campus environmental group UK Greenthumb expressed excitement and support for this latest effort to increase campus sustainability.
Greenthumb began campaigning for university administration to address UK’s contribution to climate change back in 2012. As one of the Commonwealth’s larger greenhouse gas-emitting institutions, the flagship university’s commitment to reduce emissions is a major victory for Greenthumb and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition, a network of student environmental groups at 22 campuses across the state including UK.
To reach this campaign victory, Greenthumb members collected hundreds of signatures, garnered the backing of student government, and rallied with over one-hundred students to pressure administrators into developing a climate action plan.
Incoming Greenthumb co-coordinator Taylor Renfro said, “It’s been really awesome to see the hard work of past and current student members of Greenthumb pay off. It’s important to know that as students we have a voice. I hope that this inspires other students and student organizations to keep working towards their goals of higher standards for their university.”
Greenthumb has played a vital role in shaping a more sustainable campus over the years. Robert Kahane was a member of Greenthumb from 2005 to 2009, during which time he says Greenthumb won a multi-year campaign for a student fee for sustainability. “Even though progress is sometimes hard, UK has almost always done the right thing when it comes to sustainability. . . . [T]his policy gives UK a huge opportunity to be innovative in finding ways to reduce GHGs,” he said. “I think Greenthumb's success is another in a long list of accomplishments.”
UK is the latest in a series of Kentucky universities to commit to greenhouse gas reductions. Students conducted a successful climate action campaign at Eastern Kentucky University in 2015. Both Northern Kentucky University and Centre College signed on to the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in 2007 and the University of Louisville signed on in 2008.
In its commitment, UK states that carbon-neutrality is a long-term objective for the institution. Representatives of UK Greenthumb say they will continue pushing for increased reduction commitments in order to reach this goal.