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Lexington, KY - Four members of the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition attended the Kentucky Manufacturer’s Conference and Trade Show on Wednesday to gain insight into the industry that will help shape KSEC’s strategy to hold important job-creators accountable for their impact on our environment.
KSEC member Destine Grigsby of the duPont Manual Environmental Club said an over overarching topic of the conference was cutting back regulations, also a key issue of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s administration.
“There was also a lot of talk about fracking like it’s some big, godly thing. But we’ve seen how fracking has polluted the groundwater and air in other states like Oklahoma where then attorney general Scott Pruitt basically let the natural gas industry determine its own regulations,” Grigsby said. “I’m concerned that if Kentucky cuts back environmental regulations now while the fracking industry is just setting its sights on our state, what happened in places like Oklahoma, Ohio, and New York could happen here. And several places in those states have attempted to and successfully banned the practice of hydraulic fracturing.”
Emma Anderson of Centre College says the conference did not match her expectations. “I felt like a mouse in a lion’s den most of the time. It was frustrating to hear spokespeople talking about rolling back regulations like it’s a good thing they can give more people cancer with their pollution. But I was surprised when 5 different conference attendees said they were glad to see young people asking questions, even though we were questioning some of the industry’s core beliefs about environmental ethics and regulations,” Anderson said. “It’s nice to know that there are actually individuals within the industry who are worried about the health and well-being of me and my fellow Kentuckians.”
KSEC has been resisting threats to Kentucky’s environment and advocating for renewable energy since 2007. Join KSEC for it’s next renewable energy tour as part of the Solutions Tour, an effort to gather input from young Appalachians about what they want to see in Kentucky’s post-coal economy as well as highlight the ways the region's new economy is already taking hold. The tour begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn. It will feature renewable energy's role in Appalachia's just economic transition by visiting and learning more about the Bluegrass Solar installation at the Kentucky Mining Museum and the Benham $aves Energy Efficiency Program.