Beshear: Ky. Must Take "Holistic" Approach To Fighting Climate Change

Sep 17, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - At an annual conference on energy and the environment Tuesday, Governor Steve Beshear advocated for a middle way when it comes to addressing climate change.

While he has charged the federal government with leading a “war on coal,” Beshear took a somewhat different tack at the conference, calling on Kentuckians to come to terms with a changing energy landscape.

"There will be federal regulations and Kentucky will be impacted, and what we must do is to chart a course that allows our state not only to survive but to thrive given the reality of pending federal rules," the governor cautioned.

The conference comes on the same day James River Coal Co. announced it’s laying off 525 full-time employees and shutting down production at several mines in eastern Kentucky. The governor said it’s just one more sign that Kentucky needs to rethink how it transitions to new forms of energy while it continues to rely on coal.

"We've got to continue working with the counties there to get as many people back to work as we can and number one, support our coal industry, and number two, to diversify our economy at the same time so we can create some additional jobs perhaps in other venues," Beshear said.

Beshear told conference-goers that Kentucky should not have to shoulder more than its fair share of the burden as the federal government looks to reduce greenhouse emissions and that states should be allowed flexibility as they chart their own path to achieve the country’s emission goals.