Kentucky conservation group leader reflects on land conservation and EV policies

Republished from WEKU.

The head of a Kentucky environmental group sees both gains and concerns when reflecting on the 2024 State General Assembly session. Sometimes that comes within the same issue.

Kentucky Conservation Committee Director Lane Boldman said a one-time $2 million appropriation to the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund is good news. It can go to purchase sensitive areas and provide riverbank protection. Boldman said previous legislatures had swept some $15 million from the fund to bridge the state budget.

“They stopped doing those sweeps a few years ago, which was good. But, it’s always been short that money that had been taken out,” said Boldman.

Boldman noted two fund-revenue sources, special license plate purchases and unmined mineral taxes have been declining. So she sees a need to find another consistent stream of funding to go along with environmental fines coming in the Land Conservation Fund.

The source of power to run cars along Kentucky roadways remains a topic of discussion among state policy makers. One legislative step taken during the 2024 General Assembly session was to roll back the surtax on public electric chargers. Boldman said that assessment had slowed EV charging.

“The chargers that were being installed by these public programs are very simple chargers. They don’t have meters. They can’t meter the electricity. It became a headache to administer because you had to send in a monthly report on the electricity used and the tax,” said Boldman.

Boldman said a fee for hybrid cars was also rolled back this last legislative session. The head of the conservation group says substantial monies set aside for water infrastructure are also good.

But there are some concerns. Boldman cited the measure forming a review panel on retiring coal-fired power plants. Boldman is concerned these recommendations to the State Public Service Commission could slow efforts to develop more green power sources.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.