The2nd meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development and Tourism, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Thursday, November 13, 2008, at 10:30 AM, in Room 125 of the Capitol Annex. Representative John A. Arnold Jr., Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative John A. Arnold Jr., Co-Chair; Representatives Larry Clark, Tim Firkins, Dennis Keene, Lonnie Napier, Marie Rader, Jimmy Higdon, and Ruth Ann Palumbo.
Guests: Dr. Len Peters, Secretary, Energy and Environment Cabinet
LRC Staff: Perry Papka, Melissa Hagan, and Matt Ellis.
Chairman Arnold called the meeting to order at 10:35 A.M. He welcomed guests and introduced Dr. Len Peters, Secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet, for an overview of the Cabinet’s initiatives.
Dr. Peters thanked the committee and called attention to the Cabinet being created due to reorganization. Upon completing the presentation, Dr. Peters opened the floor for questions and/or comments.
Chairman Arnold made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous meeting. Representative Clark seconded the motion and the minutes were approved.
Representative Firkins commended Dr. Peters for an impressive presentation, adding that the subject of energy is a critical area for both the state and the country.
Representative Clark suggested that the Cabinet prepare a package to bring before the General Assembly in the upcoming session to provide the tools to aid in the further research and implementation of energy incentives. He added thanks for the work the Cabinet is doing in this area. Dr. Peters replied that the Cabinet is working with the Governor’s Office to prepare a legislative agenda, adding that the state cannot wait until 2010 to act on these issues.
Chairman Arnold asked Dr. Peters to explain the process of growing algae to produce fuel. Dr. Peters explained that certain types of algae contain up to 60% of its weight in oil that can be used to create biodiesel fuel. The production of algae on a commercial scale requires the development of a photoreactor to create “vertical ponds.” The Cabinet has an informal agreement with a utility company to provide a slipstream to demonstrate the process. This would provide a complete energy cycle from coal energy creating carbon dioxide, which helps create the algae, which creates more energy. He added that though the process is carbon neutral, the federal government does not provide as much funding for bio-research as it does for geo-related research.
Representative Keene asked if the energy efficiency methods used in Kenton County schools will be used as a footprint for other schools in the state. Dr. Peters replied in the affirmative, adding that the model will be expanded to other schools.
Representative Keene asked if there has been energy saved from the implementation of a four day work week in some state offices. Dr. Peters replied that, since the four day work week is only an option and not mandatory, there are no statistics to show if energy is saved or not.
Chairman Arnold asked how the state is working with other coal producing states to encourage and educate the federal government regarding the importance of using coal energy. Dr. Peters replied that the Cabinet is working closely with the Kentucky delegation to get additional testimony on the federal level to show that coal energy is cleaner and better for the country, adding that the focus is to bring attention to coal energy on a national level.
Chairman Arnold thanked Dr. Peters for appearing before the committee and there being no further business, adjourned the meeting at 11:05 A.M.