Senate Natural Resources and Energy Chairman Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, said he got the idea for Senate Joint Resolution 99 after hearing about "sanctuary cities" declaring themselves exempt from federal immigration law.
If cities can ignore federal law to protect illegal immigrants, Smith said Wednesday, then why can't Kentucky do it for coal companies?
Smith's resolution would give state agencies jurisdiction over mining-related environmental standards and require state agencies to "respect the rights of Kentucky coal operators." The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet would be instructed to issue coal-mining permits that the EPA has denied because of concerns over water pollution.
Also Thursday, the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee will hear House Bill 421, sponsored by Chairman Jim Gooch, D-Providence. It would exempt coal mining from the federal Clean Water Act and other EPA regulation if the coal is used inside Kentucky and does not cross state lines.
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