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Administrator Wheeler visits Kentucky, Announces Approval of Kentucky’s Regional Haze Plan; Awards Kentucky $1.17 million grant to cleanup leaking underground storage tanks

04/12/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

Lexington, Ky. (April 12, 2019) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler visited the Blue Grass State on Friday to make several environmental announcements and participated in a food waste recovery event and an agriculture forum.

In the first announcement of the day, Administrator Wheeler approved revisions to the Kentucky Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP) for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions at electric generating units within the Commonwealth.  Wheeler’s approval also removes the one-size-fits-all Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) for Kentucky regional haze dating back to 2012, and fully approves Kentucky’s clean air plan for regional haze.

Administrator Wheeler also announced a $1.17 million grant to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to implement the leaking underground storage tank cleanup program. This program works to protect human health and the environment by ensuring these sites are cleaned up to protective standards.

“Today, EPA lifted a major federal burden off Kentucky and also announced new funding to help the Commonwealth protect its drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The people of Kentucky are encouraged by our progress to rein in federal overreach and work with state and local partners to improve air quality, protect drinking water, and reduce food waste.”

“We are excited to have Administrator Wheeler in the Bluegrass State today, and we are grateful for the good news he brings,” said Governor Matt Bevin. “EPA approval of revisions to the Kentucky Regional Haze Plan will facilitate a commonsense, collaborative federal-state approach to successfully reducing haze. Also, the significant grant award to address leaking underground storage tanks will enable important environmental cleanup work across the state.”

Administrator Wheeler also joined Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles to learn about the Kentucky Hunger Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to bring together all parts of the food distribution chain to reduce hunger in Kentucky. Administrator Wheeler and Commissioner Quarles visited a Kroger Marketplace to learn more about the food retailer’s “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” program to end hunger and eliminate waste in their company by 2025. Earlier this week, the Administrator announced an interagency strategy with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to promote the reduction in food waste.

As part of the Administrator’s listening tour with the nation’s agriculture community, Commissioner Quarles hosted Administrator Wheeler for a Farmers’ Forum where Kentucky agricultural leaders were able to speak directly with the Administrator on issues related to EPA, including proposed revisions to the Waters of the United States rule. Congressman Andy Barr who represents the Lexington, Ky. area in the U.S. House also attended the event.

“We were honored to host Administrator Wheeler for a discussion with representatives of Kentucky’s agricultural community,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “With this being the Administrator’s second visit to Kentucky, it is clear that he and the EPA are in a listening mode. We were also grateful for the opportunity to highlight how Kentucky is working to reduce hunger with a ‘farm-up’ approach. It is an unfortunate reality that 1 in 6 Kentuckians are food insecure, and I appreciate Administrator Wheeler’s willingness to collaborate on ways to reduce food waste.”

“Thank you Administrator Wheeler for visiting the Sixth District of Kentucky and bringing the news of the EPA’s investment in our infrastructure and environment,” said Congressman Andy Barr. “The leaking underground storage tank cleanup program and the Kentucky Regional Haze State Implementation Plan are vital to ensuring the health and safety of our communities, and I applaud the Administrator for his efforts in these areas.”