College students speak out to support environmental legislation

By Melody Bailiff |

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College students across the commonwealth spoke out Wednesday to support House Bills 86 and 170 during the “Kentucky-Wide Day of Action!”.

The UK Green Thumb Club and the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition gathered signatures on campus yesterday to send to the representatives of Kentucky, asking for the voices of bill supporters to be heard.

The bills would enact more efficient ways of dumping toxic waste materials from mines and require utilities in Kentucky to increase their use of clean, renewable sources and energy efficiency programs.

Biology and biochemistry freshman Richard Grewelle said the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, House Bill 170, could create 28,000 new jobs.

“Clean energy now is a wise investment,” Grewelle said. “It is everybody’s responsibility to make decisions now that will effect us in the future.”

Grewelle joined students Wednesday to help obtain signatures.

NRES and AgEcon freshman Caroline Engle said she does not feel legislatures are taking the bills seriously, and that by organizing to support these issues, influence can be seen in numbers.

Both bills did not obtain enough support in this legislation cycle, but supporters hope to change that by next year.

Engle said most opposition to the bills comes from supporters of the coal community, who seem to be more vocal in their campaign to maintain their industry.

Grewelle said most students were receptive to sign the petition, but some did voice their support of the coal industry.

The fear of losing coal as an economic product and the cost of clean energy may pose challenges to passing the bills.

“There would be stricter regulations and more precautions taken by miners which might result in more spending,” Engle said. “But when you look at the cost of transporting waste to the cost of the environment, there really is no comparison.”

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