Climate-denying House committee chair wants Kentucky to be a fossil fuel ‘sanctuary state’ Skip to content

Climate-denying House committee chair wants Kentucky to be a fossil fuel ‘sanctuary state’

“I'm not comfortable with going down the road of nullifying federal laws that we don't like. It sets a dangerous precedent. It didn't work out well 170 years ago.”

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier / Unsplash

Lawmakers are putting large sums of federal funding at risk with a resolution that would declare Kentucky a ‘sanctuary state’ for fossil-fueled power plants.

House Joint Resolution 121 says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is “overreaching” its regulatory power. It would also prohibit the state’s environmental cabinet from enforcing federal air quality standards related to power plants.

Kentucky’s climate change-denying House natural resources chair Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence is lead sponsor for House Joint Resolution 121.

Gooch said Thursday that he received a letter that actually enacting the measure could lead to a federal government takeover.

“They were saying that if we pass this, that the federal government would come down on us and actually take primacy away from us, and take over our enforcement of environmental law,” Gooch said. “And you know what, they are absolutely right, they will do that.”

Gooch said he believed that was unfair because other states have passed sanctuary state laws to protect undocumented immigrants.

The measure passed committee Thursday and now moves to the House floor for a vote. Gooch said he was unsure the resolution would move much further in the legislative process.

Lexington Democrat Rep. Lindsey Burke called the resolution “an embarrassment” to Kentucky and Louisville Democrat Rep. Daniel Grossman alluded to the Civil War.

“I'm not comfortable with going down the road of nullifying federal laws that we don't like,” Grossberg said. “It sets a dangerous precedent. It didn't work out well 170 years ago.”

In the same hearing, lawmakers discussed allowing fossil-fueled power plants to pollute beyond federal standards, they also passed a bill which would create more hoops for utilities to jump through before they could retire fossil-fueled power plants.

Read the rest at Louisville Public Media.



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