Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government was held on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Steve Riggs, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Damon Thayer, Co-Chair; Representative Steve Riggs, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Jimmy Higdon, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Dan "Malano" Seum, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Julie Raque Adams, Ron Crimm, Mike Denham, Ted Edmonds, Stan Lee, Tom McKee, Michael Meredith, Arnold Simpson, and Rita Smart.
Guests: Melissa Howell, Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition; Vince Lang, Kentucky County Judge/Executives Association; Bert May, Kentucky League of Cities; Richard Tanner, Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association; Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools; Dan Walton, Labor Cabinet; Kathi Marshall, Office of State Budget Director; Bryan Alvey, Kentucky Farm Bureau; and Sara McGowan, Louisville Metro Government.
Approval of Minutes
Upon the motion of Representative Crimm and a second by Representative McKee, the minutes of the August 22, 2012 meeting were approved.
Clean Fuels Technology for Local Governments
Ms. Melissa Howell, Executive Director of the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition (KCFC), testified that KCFC is a non-profit organization that has been in existence for 19 years. KCFC works to provide its members and fleet, fuel, and transportation professionals with the latest industry information.
Clean fuels projects include hybrid-school bus program, hybrid-electric and plug-in electric initiatives, ethanol/E85 and biodiesel production and use, natural gas refueling, and national park initiative using natural gas. KCFC is facilitating projects all over the state. The Jefferson County/Louisville project has 50 hybrid school buses and TARC hybrid transit buses. Biodiesel is used by UPS. Five plug-in electric transit buses are on order. There are seven plug-in electric charging stations at the University of Louisville, which are not for public use. Thornton’s has E85 stations. The waste management refueling site and Wesport LD/Ford Truck Conversions uses natural gas.
The western Kentucky project area has a hybrid school bus program, E85 stations and ethanol production facility, biodiesel use by the Kentucky Soybean Board and Farmers, and Freedom Waste Natural Gas. Mammoth Cave is the first national park in the country to use alternative fuels/advanced technologies in all vehicles and equipment.
The northern Kentucky project area includes hybrid school buses, biodiesel production by Griffin, biodiesel use by Carmeuse Lime Mines, E85 refueling stations, and clean energy natural gas refueling.
The eastern Kentucky project area has a hybrid school bus program that has doubled bus mileage, and has E85 refueling stations. Somerset has natural gas refueling and the first electric truck.
Regarding Hybrid Horsepower for Kentucky Schools, in December of 2010, $12.8 million was awarded for the purchase of 215 hybrid electric school buses. There are 170 operational buses with 157 others on order. Fuel savings averages 34 percent. Ms. Howell urged committee members to talk to their school districts about using hybrid electric school buses. The equipment works, and there is data to provide it. Kentucky has the largest number of hybrid electric school buses in the nation.
KCFC’s Green Fleets of the Bluegrass Program was launched in 2011 and aims to improve the environmental performance of vehicle fleets by reducing petroleum fuel use. Legislators were urged to talk to their municipalities about this program.
Legislation would be the most beneficial for the natural gas multi-state collaborative. The General Assembly is requested to ask about this because Kentucky is not talking about it. A natural gas workshop was held on July 3. Representative Riggs was recognized for having a municipality that participates in the use of natural gas for alternative fuel sources.
Representative Crimm commented that he only uses E85 in his vehicle and saves about 60 cents per gallon.
In response to a question from Senator Seum, Ms. Howell replied that the Hybrid Horsepower for Kentucky Schools project would not be possible without $12.8 million from the federal government. Senator Seum commented that he was concerned that lost of federal money would mean the end of the program. Ms. Howell agreed.
In response to a question from Representative Denham, Ms. Howell stated that she would have to refer Representative Denham to the corn growers regarding the concern that ethanol raises the cost of feed for livestock and the cost of food in stores.
Representative McKee commented that one of KCFC’s members, Griffin Industries, is making alternative fuel from spent cooking oil. There is an ongoing concern with food growers.
In response to a question from Representative Meredith, Ms. Howell answered that she has not seen statewide damage to marinas from ethanol statewide, but has seen some evidence of it.
In response to a question from Representative Lee, Ms. Howell replied that she did not know the cost per gallon to produce E85 but that there needs to be a drop in prices to offset the reduced mileage.
In response to another question from Representative Lee, Ms. Howell stated that while one federal subsidy ends in December, the federal subsidy was 53 cents per gallon for ethanol, and that could contribute to its cost effectiveness.
Representative Riggs told members that he is going to sponsor legislation in the 2013 Session that would require interlocal agreement training for local officials. A working draft was included in the members’ folders for their review. Some examples of interlocal agreements include the Hart County/Simpson County/Kentucky State Police emergency enhanced 911 system; the Washington County/Marion County animal shelter agreement; and the Boyle County/Mercer County Jail Interlocal Agreement. Local officials should be encouraged to use interlocal agreements and understand their use. Members were asked to get back with Representative Riggs on any changes they might have regarding the bill draft.
In response to a question from Representative Simpson, Representative Riggs replied that pages 4 and 5 of the bill draft discuss the training requirement on the subject of interlocal agreements.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:15 a.m.