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Archive for April, 2017

Recycled Tire Asphalt Grant Funding available to counties

EEC LogoEnergy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles G. Snavely announced that grant funding will be made available to counties for projects that use recycled Kentucky waste tires in rubber-modified asphalt paving projects. This grant can be used to fund either chip seal or thin asphalt overlay pavement projects.

Counties may apply either for funding for up to 24,000 square yards of chip seal paving or up to 12,000 square yards of asphalt overlay paving. Counties may not apply for both options.

Successful applicants will be required to complete an equivalent project on a similar section of road using standard asphalt, at their own expense, in order to compare the performance of standard versus rubber-modified asphalt.

Rubber-modified asphalt involves amending standard asphalt with crumb rubber derived from recycled waste tires. Chip seal is a pavement surface treatment that combines one or more layers of liquid asphalt with one or more layers of fine aggregate, while an asphalt overlay consists of a thin layer of asphalt pavement applied over an existing asphalt surface. The thickness of an overlay for the purposes of this project should not exceed 1.5 inches.

Depending on the application, rubber-modified asphalt has numerous potential benefits including increased skid resistance, increased road life and noise reduction, in addition to providing a valuable end use for recycled waste tires. The objective of the grant is to determine if rubber-modified asphalt can provide superior performance to standard asphalt in certain applications.

Funding for this grant comes from the Kentucky Waste Tire Trust Fund, which receives $1 from every new tire sold in the Commonwealth. In addition to providing funding to promote the development of markets for recycled waste tires, the fund also supports waste tire collection events, tire pile clean-ups, and grants for counties to manage waste tires.

Grant applications must be submitted no later than June 5, and projects must be completed by Dec. 31. Grant applications packets will be sent by email to county judge-executives and solid waste coordinators.

Learn more about the cabinet’s waste tire programs.

View the full article for more information in the “Naturally Connected” blog by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

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Conservation, productivity go together

EEC LogoRICHMOND, KY — No one knows the importance of conservation better than those who directly depend on the soil for their livelihood.

Even as agriculture becomes increasingly competitive, farmers must focus on conservation as well as production.

Fortunately, those twin goals can be mutually supportive, Ballew Farms on Boonesboro Road is proof of that.

On March 21, Lonzo and Taffy Ballew of Ballew Farms were honored by the Madison County Conservation District as Outstanding Conservators of the Year.

Lonzo and his brother Leroy are the third generation of the Ballew family to work the farm now near Interstate 75 Exit 95.

While farming is a family tradition, the Ballews are innovators, according to Brandon Sears, Madison County Cooperative Extension Agent for Agriculture.

They are always looking to increase crop diversity, try new marketing methods and apply the most up-to-date production techniques, Sears said.

The Ballews also are conscientious about learning and employing best practices for conservation as recommended by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said Lisa Smith of the Madison County NRCS office.

Read the full article by the Richmond Register.

 

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Louisville recognized as solar-friendly city

Lou-city-seal-jpgLouisville has been awarded a gold designation by SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, for its commitment to adopting practices that make it faster and easier to use solar energy. This is the highest designation given by SolSmart, distinguishing Louisville as a national leader in advancing solar energy.

A SolSmart designation provides national recognition that Louisville is a solar-friendly city ready to attract solar industry investment and to generate economic development and local jobs from the solar industry. Louisville is the first city in Kentucky to receive a designation from SolSmart.

“We are thrilled to achieve Gold designation in the SolSmart program. Solar power has become very cost effective and our citizens are eager to harness the sun’s energy in their homes and businesses,” Maria Koetter, Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Sustainability, said. “Through participating in the SolSmart program, we now have a clear-cut process for permitting and installing solar panels.”

To achieve designation, cities take steps to reduce solar “soft costs,” which are non-hardware costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system. Examples of soft costs include planning and zoning, permitting, financing, customer acquisition, and installation labor. Soft costs now represent roughly two-thirds of the total price of an installed residential system. Reducing these costs leads to savings that are passed on to consumers.

Read the full article on the Louisville Metro Government website.

 

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New report: Progress made In reducing air pollution

On April 17, The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new report, The Greatest Story Seldom Told: Profiles and Success Stories in Air Pollution Control [PDF]. Through the Clean Air Act’s framework of cooperative federalism, state and local air quality agencies have made tremendous progress in virtually every measure of air pollution control, according to an AAPCA press release.

The AAPCA is a consensus-driven organization focused on assisting state and local air quality agencies and personnel with implementation and technical issues associated with the federal Clean Air Act. AAPCA members work collaboratively on behalf of states and the communities they protect to act as a conduit for and provide feedback to federal regulators on air quality rules that have significant impacts across the entire nation. AAPCA represents more than 40 state and local air agencies, and senior officials from 20 state environmental agencies currently sit on AAPCA’s Board of Directors. AAPCA is housed in Lexington, Kentucky as an affiliated association of the Council of State Governments (CSG).

Released ahead of Earth Day (April 22) and Air Quality Awareness Week (May 1-5), this publication catalogues these trends through publicly available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. It includes key metrics from concentrations of criteria pollutants like ground-level ozone and air releases of toxic chemicals to compliance/enforcement activity and operating permit renewals.

Where data sets allow state-to-state comparisons, the report highlights critical areas where the 20 states that serve on the AAPCA Board of Directors have provided leadership. Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“Air quality has improved dramatically, and ambient air monitoring data continues to reveal the downward trend of air pollutants. It is, perhaps, the greatest story seldom told, and one that is certainly worth telling,” said AAPCA President Sean Alteri, Director of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality. “This report demonstrates that this progress has been driven by the hard-working state and local agency members of our Association, and we look forward to working with our federal partners to continue this pattern.”

According to Vice President Stuart Spencer of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality: “AAPCA members, who have primary responsibility for air quality in parts of the country growing in population and economic activity, have demonstrated leadership across all key metrics of air quality success. The Greatest Story Seldom Told helps illustrate that, even under increasingly stringent national standards, these agencies are succeeding and innovating.”

Read more about the report and its findings at the AAPCA website.

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Energy efficiency celebrated at Earth Day Kentucky

SSP-jpeg-EarthDay KY logoEarth Day 2017 for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet took on an energy efficient theme as the Cabinet hosted the celebration of environmental awareness on April 19 at its LEED certified building, 300 Sower Boulevard in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Director of Communications John Mura welcomed employees gathered in the first-floor training space at 10:30 a.m., while more than two dozen exhibitors lined the hallway outside.

“As Kentuckians, we live in one of the most naturally beautiful and diverse places in the world,” Mura said. “Thanks to your efforts, Kentucky has made great progress in becoming a cleaner, healthier state.

“Did you know, for instance, that we’ve cleaned up more than 1,200 waste dumps across the Commonwealth in the past five years? Or removed pollutants from 130 miles of Kentucky streams and rivers? Or have seen the air get dramatically cleaner in places such as Louisville and Northern Kentucky where in the last 16 years, the state has cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 86 percent?”

Following Mura’s remarks, Amy Sohner, executive director of Bluegrass Greensource, a nonprofit environmental education organization serving Central Kentucky, spoke about taking personal responsibility for the environment.

“It is so important that we all get involved in not only Earth Day, or Earth Week, but make it Earth Day every day,” said Sohner. “We all need to change the way we think about our actions and thoughts that we each see how much everything we do impacts our environment.”

Haley McCoy, executive director of the Office of Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs for the Cabinet, presented the student winners of the ‘Capture the Earth’ photo and video contest.

Read about all of the day’s activities and view the winning photos and video at the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s “Land, Air & Water” webzine.

 

 

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KPPC engineer to serve as judge at state conference

Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) Senior Sustainability Engineer Mark Toda will serve as a judge for the Kentucky Technology Student Association State Conference on April 24. The event is being held April 24-25 at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center in Louisville. Toda and other professionals within the competition areas will judge middle and high school events during the conference. The KPPC is a division of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville.

“Throughout my career, it has been a pleasure to work with students,” Toda said. “I appreciate their energy, desire to contribute and willingness to learn. The KYTSA Conference is a great opportunity to encourage students and maybe pass along some helpful insights.”

The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national organization of students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Open to students enrolled in or who have completed technology education courses, TSA’s membership includes more than 233,000 middle and high school students in approximately 2,000 schools spanning 49 states. TSA is supported by educators, parents and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Members learn through exciting competitive events, leadership opportunities and much more.

The diversity of activities makes TSA a positive experience for every student. From engineers to business managers, TSA alumni credit the organization with making a positive influence on their lives. The Kentucky Chapter of TSA (KYTSA) has seen a resurgence this year. It currently has over 300 more students affiliated with it than this time last year.

 

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Earth Day – The world’s largest civic observance

SSP-jpeg-EarthDay-imageThe concept of Earth Day was established in 1969 at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conference in San Francisco. On March 21, 1970, a sanctioned Proclamation was signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations.

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed.

Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Growing out of the first Earth Day, the Earth Day Network works with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries to build environmental democracy. It works through a combination of education, public policy and consumer campaigns.

Learn more about 2017 activities nationally at the Earth Day Network website.

Also, check out these resources for ways to celebrate Earth Day on your own or locally:

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Free trees make Kentucky more green

SSP-jpeg-KY-Energy-LogoOne of the most popular programs of the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), is the state nurseries and tree seedlings program. With a target of growing 1.5 to 2 million seedlings each year, the division is doing its part to help reforest the Commonwealth.

“We gave away around 50,000 seedlings this season alone,” said Eric Gracey the forestry program manager with the KDF. “They are a great icebreaker to get to talk to people about planting trees and even some of the other great programs we offer. Everyone loves a free tree.”

With two seedling nurseries in Morgan and Marshall counties, the KDF is able to offer over 50 species of trees native to Kentucky, with the exception of the blight resistant Chinese chestnut. Some of their most popular varieties of trees are the dogwood, redbud and the sugar maple.

“We have actually seen a shift in demand for bee-friendly trees too,” said Gracey. “Trees likes like black locusts, yellow popular, dogwoods or any flowering tree are the first to go.”

The nurseries also have seen bottomland hardwoods go up in demand. Swamp white oak, pin oak, bur oak and over cup oak have become remarkably popular according to Gracey. Currently, feedback from the community has foresters exploring requests for basswood. Seed availability also strongly dictates what trees will be grown and offered to the public.

“We have five regional offices. When our foresters get out and give free trees in the communities, it’s usually for educational purposes.It also starts to build relationships with people in the community,” said Gracey. “It makes our folks that familiar face, and that’s a good thing. We want our people to be approachable and known. We want the word out on our programs and we want more trees in the ground.”

More trees in the ground is not only good for the Energy and Environment Cabinet, but it also has countless environmental returns such as enhancing wildlife habitat, improving urban areas and reclaimed surface mining sites. Not to mention the economic benefits of cleaner air, water and lower utility bills for the citizens of the Commonwealth.

According to Gracey most of KDF’s free trees are given away around Earth Day and Arbor Day to raise awareness of the earth and how important each and every tree planted is.

Read the full article on the Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet’s “Land, Air & Water” webzine.

Seedlings are available for purchase in the KDF nurseries until the end of April for packages of 10 seedlings for $35, 50 seedlings for $55 and 100 seedlings for $70.

Seedlings may be purchased by contacting your local KDF Regional Office. For more information and pricing, visit the KDF State Nurseries and Seedlings website or the nursery order form [PDF].

 

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Grants available from Waste Tire Trust Fund

EEC LogoKentucky counties can now apply for $4,000 grants to be used for recycling and waste tire removal. The grants are funded through the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Waste Management (DWM) Waste Tire Trust Fund.

“This is a great opportunity for communities to remove waste tires and we encourage all counties to take advantage of this grant. Eligible expenses under this grant are the actual costs that the county incurs during the grant period for recycling or disposal of waste tires,” said Gary Logsdon, manager of DWM’s Recycling and Local Assistance Branch. “Other expenses, such as labor and equipment costs, are not eligible.”

The grant period is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Costs incurred by a county beginning July 1, 2017 for recycling or disposal of waste tires are eligible. Counties must submit receipts for those costs with their close-out report form by July 15, 2018.

Waste tire Grant applications must be submitted no later than June 1, 2017. These grants do not require a match. Any unused funds must be returned to the Cabinet by July 31, 2018.

The grant packets are being sent by email to county judge-executives and solid waste coordinators.

View the full article for more information in the “Naturally Connected” blog by the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

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