Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Energy was held on Thursday, July 6, 2017, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jared Carpenter, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jared Carpenter, Co-Chair; Representative Jim Gooch Jr., Co-Chair; Senators C.B. Embry Jr., Ernie Harris, Ray S. Jones II, Christian McDaniel, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Johnny Ray Turner, Robin L. Webb, and Whitney Westerfield; Representatives John Blanton, Larry Brown, McKenzie Cantrell, Matt Castlen, Jeffery Donohue, Jim DuPlessis, Daniel Elliott, Kelly Flood, Chris Fugate, Brian Linder, Marie Rader, Jim Wayne, and Jill York.
Guests: Todd Trapp, Assistant Director, Division of Family Support, Department for Community Based Services, Elizabeth Caywood, Executive Advisor, Commissioner’s Office, Department for Community Based Services, Roger McCann, Executive Director, Community Action Kentucky, Inc., Jeremy Jackson, President/Owner, Jackson Group, Rick Wolf, Director of Engineering, Jackson Group, Reagan Taylor, Madison County Judge/Executive.
Presentation and public hearing on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Block Grant Application – FY 18
Elizabeth Caywood provided an overview of the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), which is the largest organizational unit within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services with a budget over one billion dollars. LIHEAP is targeted towards households with the lowest income that pay a high proportion of income for home energy. DCBS anticipates Kentucky’s award will be $47.2 million for 2018.
DCBS maintains a contractual arrangement with Community Action Kentucky, Inc. (CAK) and the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) to provide support, training, and monitoring. CAK and KHC have a sub-contractual arrangement with Kentucky’s Community Action Network that makes LIHEAP benefits available in all counties.
Todd Trapp discussed benefits offered by LIHEAP such as bill payment assistance, emergency assistance, summer cooling, and weatherization activities.
Roger McCann stated there are 23 community action agencies that together cover all Kentucky counties. Each agency allows local control so specific needs can be met. CAK utilizes a continuous process for improvement including data collection and analysis.
Todd Trapp summarized concerns presented during the June 16, 2016 meeting. It had been said that Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership had not spend all of its allocated funds. DCBS convened a workgroup to research and discuss possible solutions. A pilot program is proposed in Jefferson County that will allow applicants to qualify for the crisis component if they present a past due bill or a disconnect notice. This should limit damage to the applicant’s credit.
In response to Representative Wayne, Roger McCann stated that LIHEAP, weatherization, and the CSBG block grant are expected to be zeroed out in President Trump’s proposed budget. Staff must be prepared in the event the budget is passed and should educate constituents. There are efforts in Washington to lobby for the grant.
In response to Senator Webb, Roger McCann stated Apprise Consulting is performing a national study to determine what impact rate increases have on the marginalized population. There is no data yet, but it may have a negative impact.
The LIHEAP block grant findings of fact was approved by unanimous voice vote.
Protecting Transportation Infrastructure Using Natural Stream Channel Design: Saving Money and Streams
Jeremy Jackson provided an overview of water resources including streams and lakes where a significant percentage does not support fish consumption or habitat. The leading causes of impairments are sediments, nutrients, and total suspended solids. The number one source for sediment is urban and rural development.
Sediment pollution reduces revenue due to decrease in recreational activities and impaired aquatic resources while adding expensive treatment and maintenance costs. Impervious surfaces cause less water infiltration into the soil resulting in increased flooding at higher velocities. The favored solution is to straighten streams and build them wider which perpetuates the problem because more sediment is produced due to erosion. The solution should be to slow the flow of water.
Sediment causes problems with infrastructure including water line crossings, pipeline line crossings, and bridge crossings. Conventional methods for repair include pouring concrete along the banks, gabion baskets, and riprap. Natural stream channel design can improve stream stability and save money. There are multiple designs including a W-shaped rock vane, cross vane, and J-hook vane. The economic benefit to these designs is increased recreation and fishing which will generate tourism revenue and will decrease maintenance costs. There are also ecological benefits including decreased bank erosion and increased aquatic habitat.
The problems with funding mechanisms include being underfunded, over-restrictive, and a focus not at the county level. The proposed approach includes a combination of using natural stream channel design and greater access to funds from various sources.
In response to Senator Webb, Rick Wolf stated that problems can be prevented with good bridge design.
In response to Representative Brown, Jeremy Jackson stated the design is not being used for Mountain Parkway bridge construction.
Documents distributed during the meeting are available with meeting material in the LRC Library. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.