Everyday Kentuckians Ready to be Heard on Clean Power Plan | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Press Contact: 
Dana Beasley Brown
KFTC Chairperson

Everyday Kentuckians Ready to be Heard on Clean Power Plan

Additional Contacts

Steve Wilkins
Retiree and clean energy advocate
Berea, Madison County

Tona Barkley
Grandmother and clean energy advocate
Owenton, Owen County

Tom Sexton
Consultant and former city council member
Whitesburg, Letcher County

Carl Shoupe
Retired coal miner and Benham Power Board member
Benham, Harlan County

Sean Hardy
Environmental justice advocate and long-time Rubbertown resident
Louisville, Jefferson County


The White House Fact Sheet on the Clean Power Plan

EPA's Clean Power Plan page

White House's Climate CHange page

The 1560-page plan

Related EPA documents

The Clean Power Plan presents Kentucky with a significant challenge but also a real opportunity to move the state toward a vibrant clean energy economy.

That’s the analysis – and hope – offered by citizens from several Kentucky communities after digging through the heated political rhetoric that followed Monday’s announcement by President Obama to look at what the plans means for Kentucky.

“The requirements for Kentucky in the Clean Power Plan are ambitious, but necessary. The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity to build a new energy economy here that is strong, healthy and good for all people, while addressing climate change,” said Dana Beasley Brown of Bowling Green and chairperson of the grassroots group Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. “Kentucky can do this. Now we need the leaders who will step up to the challenge and seize this opportunity.”

The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants (currently power plants can release as much carbon pollution as they want). The plan sets flexible and achievable standards for states to incrementally reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. 

The plan calls for a 41 percent reduction in carbon pollution for Kentucky.

“The goal of a 41 percent reduction in carbon pollution in Kentucky is a welcome challenge, one Kentuckians are ready to meet,” said Beasley Brown.

Kentucky is one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution because the state relies heavily on the burning of coal to generate electricity.

States are given a variety of options and tools for meeting their respective goals. Those may include all low-carbon electricity generation technologies, including renewables such as solar, wind and hydroelectric. The plan also includes incentives to encourage energy efficiency investments in low-income communities.

“This Plan is something that can be of great benefit to Kentuckians – if we make that choice,” added Beasley Brown. “Recent studies show that right here in Kentucky even modest increases in renewable energy and energy efficiency can create tens of thousands of new jobs, see savings of 8-10 percent on our electric bills and boost Kentucky’s economy by billions of dollars.”

States have until September 2016 to submit their initial plan, though they may receive extensions of up to two years. By the year 2022 they must begin implementing their plans with pollution reductions phased in on a gradual “glide path” to 2030.

President Obama and administration officials emphasized the health benefits that will be realized by reducing air pollution, including a dramatic 90 percent reduction in asthma attacks by 2030. Those benefits were important for many Kentuckians reacting to Monday’s announcement.

“As we deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency programs to reduce carbon pollution, we also will reduce other pollutants that harm our health,” pointed out Beasley Brown. “This is our opportunity to improve our poor air quality that today causes hundreds of premature deaths each year and costs us millions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“As the mother of two beautiful children, I want to leave them the best Kentucky possible.”

Those hopes were echoed by retired coal miner Carl Shoupe of Harlan County and Sean Hardy of Louisville.

“We can use the opportunity of this Clean Power Plan to not only create a future with a stable climate and cleaner air for our children to breathe,” said Shoupe, “but to bring energy savings programs like ours here to low-income communities all across the state.”

“I grew in west Louisville’s Rubbertown, a community of low-income families, the elderly and other vulnerable populations who have lived with the long-term effects of power plant pollution,” said Hardy. “As the Clean Power Plan includes ambitious goals for Kentucky, I am encouraged to see it also includes incentives for bringing renewables and energy efficiency programs to low-income communities.”

Steve Wilkins of Madison County is another Kentuckian looking for the benefit of more stable or even lower energy costs. The EPA’s analysis of the plan’s impacts on electricity bills shows that U.S. families are expected to save nearly $85 dollars on their annual utility bills by 2030.

“As a retiree, I think about my financial future on a fixed income. We have an extraordinary opportunity to lower our electric bills while creating tens of thousands of new, good jobs.”

Others also found the job creation potential of a shift to clean energy and energy efficiency to be appealing.

"The hardworking folks that make their living in coal in my community know the same reality as me: the eastern Kentucky economy desperately needs both diversification, and a shot in the arm,” said Tom Sexton of Letcher County and a former Whitesburg City Council member. “The Clean Power Plan can be opportunity for both, with its potential to create new industries at home, in sectors like clean, renewable energy production and energy efficiency – so hopefully more of our own can make a living here."

The plan includes requirements for states to meaningful engage with communities, including low-income, minority, and tribal communities, as they develop state plans. Hardy and the others are looking for lots of opportunities for the public to participate in the formation of Kentucky’s Clean Power Plan.

“Vulnerable communities like mine must be engaged as Kentucky’s plan is developed,” said Hardy. “This is our opportunity to make sure the voices of directly impacted communities across the Commonwealth are heard.”