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Len Peters Discusses the EPA

Len Peters Discusses the EPA

Dr. Len Peters, secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, discusses the EPA, adhering to the new regulations, and a new documentary about the future of coal and natural gas in the state.
S10 E22 Length 27:46 Premiere: 4.25.15

Len Peters: State Working on Carbon Reduction Plan

As the battle wages in Congress and the courts over federal limits on carbon dioxide emissions, Kentucky energy officials are taking a different approach to the matter. They want to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to help shape regulations in a way that takes into account the commonwealth’s unique blend of energy and economic resources.

State Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters discussed this strategy and other policy issues on KET’s One to One this weekend.

Limits Could Affect Kentucky Differently
Over the past several years the EPA has developed its proposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants. The overall goal of the Obama administration is for the nation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.

Peters says his agency wanted to educate federal regulators on how Kentucky would be uniquely affected by such rules based on its supply of locally mined coal and a growing base of companies that depend on a reliable supply of relatively inexpensive electricity.

“If you’re a manufacturing state, like we are,” Peters explains, “as opposed to a state that has more of a service-based economy, the regulations really impact you differently because of the energy requirements of our industry sector.”

More than 200,000 Kentuckians are employed in some form of manufacturing in the commonwealth. Peters says the state is now the third largest provider of automobiles, and produces 40 percent of the aluminum and a third of the stainless steel manufactured in the U.S.

He says the traditional source of energy for those businesses has been power generated by burning coal. But Peters contends manufacturers are what he calls “fuel agnostic.” He jokes that they would take power from burning tennis shoes, if a clean source of that were available.

“They want the most affordable electricity to provide the lowest price, or the lowest additive cost to their manufacturing process,” Peters says.

Critics Question EPA’s Authority
Opponents of the proposed EPA rules say the carbon limits would force power plants to retrofit with pollution control devices or switch to cleaner burning natural gas, while some older generating stations might be forced to shutter. The result would be higher electricity rates for commercial and residential customers, which could stymie economic growth.

Kentucky’s coal producers along with much of the state’s congressional delegation have been highly critical of the Obama administration’s proposal. State Attorney General Jack Conway (who is also a Democratic candidate for governor) even joined a lawsuit filed by about a dozen states challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA is currently considering more than 3 million comments it received about its proposed regulations and is expected to present its final rules in August, according to Peters. He expects the rules will require each state to present a plan as to how they will meet the specific emission reduction targets mandated for that state.

To Respond, or Not to Respond
Sen. Mitch McConnell has urged states not to submit plans as a way to protest the greenhouse gas limits, which he says are unfair and potentially illegal. He contends states should wait until the courts rule on whether EPA is acting under proper regulatory authority.

While Peters says he agrees with McConnell that electricity rates should be kept affordable, the secretary plans to proceed with a reduction plan for Kentucky. Peters argues it’s better for the state to write its own plan that local officials can tailor to specific circumstances here. States that don’t submit a reduction strategy would be forced to abide by what Peters calls a more generic, “one-size-fits-all plan” created by federal officials that could prove harmful to Kentucky interests.

“We can make it work together but it’s not simply by always pushing back,” Peters says of the struggle between those opposed to the regulations and those concerned about the environment. “We’re going to have to figure out how we can do it best for Kentucky… in our plans and our policies as we move forward.”

A Focus on Energy Efficiency
Peters acknowledges that Kentucky will continue to burn coal, but he also wants the state to expand its energy portfolio to include more natural gas as well as renewable sources. He also sees efficiency measures as a key component of the state’s energy plan. He says much can be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing demand for electricity in the first place.

Peters notes that more than 250 public school buildings in Kentucky have gained Energy Star ratings since Gov. Steve Beshear took office. He says five industrial firms in Kentucky have also achieved the federal energy efficiency ranking in the past year alone. He says businesses want to become more efficient because that can help increase profits.

Peters says his staff will provide as much analysis and strategy development for a carbon reduction plan as possible before a new governor takes office in December. He says it will be up to the next administration to decide which option to pursue. Peters says he doesn’t expect to continue as secretary of the cabinet, but he says he is open to helping the agency in a different capacity.


Program Details

One to One

About One to One

Host Bill Goodman and a variety of interesting and engaging people talk about the state and world we live in. Important, memorable, and provocative, this series offers an array of interviews with guests including politicians and philosophers, artists and authors, and the leading thinkers in Kentucky.

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Season 10 Episodes

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S10 E53 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 12.27.15

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S10 E52 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 12.20.15

Steve Beshear Reflects on Service

S10 E51 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 12.13.15

Dr. R. Albert Mohler

S10 E50 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 11.22.15

Governor-elect Matt Bevin

S10 E49 Length 29:03 Premiere Date 11.15.15

Kentucky Life Host Doug Flynn

S10 E48 Length 28:26 Premiere Date 11.8.15

Al Cross on the 2015 Election

S10 E47 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 11.1.15

Trey Grayson

S10 E46 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10.11.15

Tony Kemper of the de Paul School

S10 E45 Length 27:26 Premiere Date 10.4.15

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth

S10 E44 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 9.27.15

David Gregory on His Journey of Faith

S10 E43 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 9.20.15

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie

S10 E42 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 9.13.15

Sen. Mitch McConnell

S10 E41 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 9.5.15

Education Chief Reflects on Service

S10 E39 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 8.23.15

Making the Case for Higher Academic Standards

S10 E38 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 8.15.15

Emily Bingham Discusses Aunt's Biography

S10 E36 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 8.1.15

Personalized Cancer Treatment

S10 E35 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 7.25.15

Stu Silberman and Brigitte Blom Ramsey

S10 E34 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 7.18.15

Coding - Part 2

S10 E33 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 7.11.15

Scott Terrell on the Lexington Philharmonic

S10 E30 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 6.20.15

Jane Chu and Lori Meadows Discuss Kentucky Arts

S10 E29 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 6.13.15

Giving Voice to Kentucky Women

S10 E28 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 6.6.15

The Heroin Epidemic in Kentucky

S10 E26 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 5.23.15

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S10 E25 Length 28:00 Premiere Date 5.16.15

Immigration Laws in Louisville

S10 E24 Length 28:17 Premiere Date 5.9.15

Cameron Ludwick and Blair Hess

S10 E23 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 5.2.15

Len Peters Discusses the EPA

S10 E22 Length 27:46 Premiere Date 4.25.15

Kim Baker Discusses the Arts

S10 E21 Length 28:56 Premiere Date 4.18.15

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Dr. Alison Davis

S10 E20 Length 27:46 Premiere Date 4.11.15

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz

S10 E19 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 4.4.15

Dr. Mark Evers

S10 E18 Length 27:11 Premiere Date 3.28.15

Teddy Abrams

S10 E17 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.21.15

Dr. Robert Davies

S10 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 2.22.15

Brad Jones: Black Walls Turn Gray

S10 E15 Length 28:12 Premiere Date 2.15.15

SOAR Executive Director Jared Arnett

S10 E14 Length 28:16 Premiere Date 2.8.15

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto

S10 E13 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 2.1.15

Rep. Andy Barr: One to One from Washington

S10 E12 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 2.4.15

Rep. Thomas Massie: One to One from Washington

S10 E11 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 2.3.15

Rep. John Yarmuth: One to One from Washington

S10 E10 Length 27:41 Premiere Date 2.2.15

Rep. Brett Guthrie: One to One from Washington

S10 E9 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 1.30.15

Rep. Ed Whitfield: One to One from Washington

S10 E8 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 1.29.15

Rep. Hal Rogers: One to One from Washington

S10 E7 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 1.28.15

Sen. Rand Paul: One to One from Washington

S10 E6 Length 27:31 Premiere Date 1.27.15

Sen. Mitch McConnell: One to One from Washington

S10 E5 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 1.26.15

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell

S10 E4 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 1.6.15

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers

S10 E3 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 1.18.15

Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo

S10 E2 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 1.11.15

Gov. Steve Beshear

S10 E1 Length 28:41 Premiere Date 12.26.14

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