Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet

Ryan Van Velzer

Half of all the public drinking water systems tested in a new report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet are showing evidence of PFAS contamination.

These chemicals belong to a class of more than 5,000 compounds often called “forever chemicals” and are known to increase the risk of cancer, among other health problems.

Researchers found the highest levels and the highest rates of detection in drinking water systems that pulled from waters connected to the Ohio River. State officials say that’s most likely because of the amount of industry near the waterway. In Louisville, researchers detected three PFAS compounds at two different water treatment plants, according to the report.

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet has fired its opening salvo in the fight over a proposed gas pipeline through Bernheim Forest.

Louisville Gas & Electric filed an eminent domain lawsuit against the state in September to overturn a conservation easement and acquire land to build the pipeline.

On Friday, the state filed a motion to dismiss the condemnation suit, arguing LG&E didn’t make an offer to buy the state’s conservation easement prior to filing the lawsuit, as required under state law.

Kentucky Afield

State officials are closer to learning the cause of a massive fish kill in the Gasper River in south central Kentucky.

Investigators previously found decreased oxygen levels in the water following the near-total fish kill that occurred over the Memorial Day weekend.  Now, water samples have revealed levels of nutrients and E.coli. 

Robin Hartman, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, says several factors could have contributed to the drop in oxygen.

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A new study gave Kentucky poor marks for the safety of its drinking water.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says the commonwealth has the tenth-highest number of offenses per capita

Violations ranged from high levels of arsenic and nitrates to failure to test or properly report contamination levels. The Courier Journal reported no other state in the nation had a larger percent of its population getting its water from utilities with at least one violation. The study was based on safe drinking water act violations, and the number of customers served by those utilities.

Indiana was twenty-second in total water quality offenses per capita, while Tennessee ranked twenty-third.

LRC Public Information

The secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet has provided hints — but few specifics — of how state budget cuts will affect his agency.

Along with most sectors of state government, the cabinet’s spending would be reduced by 9 percent over the next two fiscal years and 4.5 percent this year under Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget.

Bevin has left the specifics of administering the cuts up to his cabinet secretaries.

But Secretary Charles Snavely, a former coal executive, wouldn’t say which programs in his cabinet will be cut.

“We’re undertaking a review of everything we do and determining if what we do is productive, if it’s cost effective, if there’s a better way to do it,” Snavely said.