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Energy and Environment Cabinet recognizes state environmental award winners at annual conference


The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet last week recognized a number of individuals and organizations for making positive contributions to Kentucky’s environment.

Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely presented the environmental awards during a luncheon ceremony at the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington. Conference sessions during the all-day event included a look ahead at the 2020 legislative session, an overview of federal EPA regulations and standards, efforts to sustain Kentucky’s forests, and Public Service Commission initiatives.

“The Cabinet is very pleased to recognize all these award winners for the outstanding contributions they have made to the Commonwealth,” Secretary Snavely said. “We applaud their dedication to safety and energy savings and their environmental leadership.”

Award winners included:

Mary Margaret Lowe and Eugene Lacefield, of Henry County, receive the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Stewardship Award (Photo by Kirsten Delamarter/Energy and Environment Cabinet)

• Mary Margaret Lowe and Eugene Lacefield, of Henry County, who were honored with the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Stewardship Award that recognizes individuals that best exemplify responsible natural areas management. The award was given by the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves.

The couple has managed their 300-acre Henry County property for more than 40 years as a natural area, and in 2019 donated their land to the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves to establish the Drennon Creek State Nature Preserve. This property protects habitat for the federally endangered Braun’s Rockcress, and will help the recovery efforts needed to remove this plant from the endangered species list.

• Lee Andrews, of Frankfort, KY., who was honored with the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves’ Biodiversity Award that recognizes a company or individual that has done outstanding work in the conservation of Kentucky’s rare species.

As U.S. Fish and Wildlife field supervisor for Kentucky and Tennessee, Mr. Andrews has been at the forefront of innovative habitat conservation in Kentucky for more than a decade. Under his leadership, partnerships were formed to develop stream and wetland mitigation sites, the Green River Lock and Dam 6 was removed to eliminate a public safety hazard, and the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund was created.

• Dr. Oliver “Herb” Lloyd, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who was honored with The Outstanding Forest Steward Award, given by the Kentucky Division of Forestry, for outstanding stewardship accomplishments involving cooperative planning and management of natural resources that prevent loss of habitat and promote sustainability.

Dr. Lloyd has been a strong advocate for good stewardship of natural resources and sound forest management for more than five decades, including for 38 years on his Fleming County farm. He has used information from resource professionals and over the years shared what worked or did not work with numerous landowners, students, nature lovers, and Christmas tree customers.

• KC Coals, Inc., of Martin County, which was honored with the Excellence in Reclamation Award, given by the Kentucky Division of Reclamation and Enforcement, for a reclamation project that demonstrates that mining can be completed and the area then returned to a condition that is equal to or better than what existed before.

The company was able to capitalize on a natural resource to offset the costs associated with a development in Paintsville. This project, which has provided several well-paying mining and support jobs for the local community, will provide a solid foundation for additional job creation.

• Western KY Minerals, Inc. (Joe’s Run Mine), of Daviess County, which was honored with the Excellence in Mine Safety Award, given by the Kentucky Division of Mine Safety, for a mine that exhibited the best safety practices during the year.

Owner Tony Lanham, a second-generation coal miner, along with his sons, Brandon and Jordan, supervise and manage the small coal mining operation. Their group of 22 employees worked more than 50,000 hours, pulling out 204,000 tons of coal, without a single accident or incident.

• Smith Brothers Excavating, of Manchester, which was honored with the Excellence in Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Award, given by the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, for its reclamation project that demonstrated that mining can be completed and the area returned to a condition that is equal to or better than what existed before.

The company reclaimed the McKinney property in Floyd County, where a slide encroached upon and partially blocked Branham’s Creek, creating potential upstream flooding. The company constructed a steel panel wall to stop the landslide and created a bench behind the wall and installed drainage controls.

• General Motors’ Bowling Green Assembly Plant, which was honored with the KY EXCEL Champion Award, given by the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, for being an Kentucky EXCEL member that demonstrated outstanding stewardship of Kentucky’s environment.

The plant has excelled in community involvement, pollution prevention, waste minimization, and air quality improvement. Its state-of-the-art paint shop has decreased paint usage, and reduced sludge waste and VOC emissions. A total of 7,000 light fixtures have been updated with low energy LED lights, and the plant has committed to renewable energy through its onsite solar array that generated more than 700 megawatts of electricity in 2018.

• Eden Shale Farm, of Owenton, which was honored with the Environmental Pacesetter Award, given by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, for its exemplary and innovative efforts to protect the environment and set an example of environmental stewardship for the Commonwealth.

Eden Shale Farm has educated Kentucky farmers using a hands-on approach. Through the farm’s website, blog, demonstrational videos, onsite farm tours and virtual tour, it has provided numerous resources for farmers to implement environmentally friendly practices, and receive the corresponding savings and improved herd health, on their own farms.

• Leggett & Platt, Inc., Winchester Spring, which was honored with the Resource Caretaker Award, given by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, for its conservation of Kentucky’s natural resources.

Through its parts rebuild and pallet recycling programs, Leggett & Platt reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by 740,000 pounds over the past year. Trash pickups have been reduced to one per quarter and the branch is exploring the possibility of becoming a Zero-Waste-to-Landfill operation. This year, the firm partnered with two elementary schools to spread the message of environmental awareness.

• The Letcher County Conservation District, which was honored with the Community Luminary Award, given by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, for demonstrating an outstanding record of educating, engaging and inspiring communities and employee partners through environmental outreach.

Through a variety of projects, the district has revitalized community lakes, promoted local outdoor education, and developed community partnerships. This group has been fully engaged in accomplishing much for their community and the environment for many years.

• Karen Reagor, of Crestview Hills, and the • Owsley County School District, which were both honored with the Kentucky Excellence in Energy Leadership Award, given by the Kentucky Office of Energy to individuals or entities having a tremendous impact on the Commonwealth by inspiring others to save energy and/or utilize alternative energy resources.

Ms. Reagor, director of the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, has inspired thousands of Kentucky teachers and generations of students to achieve a deeper understanding of all forms of energy and its relationship to our natural and built environments. In the past school year alone, 397 teachers attended a NEED teacher workshop. Those teachers, in turn, shared their knowledge with nearly 58,000 students.

In 2017, the Owsley County School District made energy efficiency its first priority after an aging infrastructure and failing HVAC equipment compromised school operations. School Superintendent Tim Bobrowski and other key decision makers embarked on a comprehensive energy project that has made the district energy efficient while improving occupant comfort and safety.

From Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet


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