Kentucky Chamber testifies on proposed Title V emission fee increases

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce testified Monday, June 6, 2011 before the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) on a proposed increase of Title V permitting fees for the 2012 Fiscal Year.  The Cabinet is expecting a nearly $2.3 million shortfall in the state’s Title V Permitting Program and could raise fees as much as 30 percent for Title V Permit Holders.  The shortfall is primarily due to the reduction of emissions because of environmental controls that have been put into place.

The Chamber’s Energy and Environment Council Chairwoman, Carolyn Brown of Greenebaum Doll and McDonald, has given the issue thorough review.  She provided remarks to the Cabinet explaining the Chamber’s highly debated and researched position. 

“The Chamber does not oppose an increase in the emission fee, as it will ensure the needs of the Title V permit holders continue to be met in a prompt and efficient manner.  It is important that the Division maintain the current level of service they provide to the business community, as air permit approvals are often a key component in implementing expansions of existing business and in obtaining new industrial development,” Brown said.

However, the Chamber is calling for the Cabinet and Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to continue to look for cost savings measures and efficiencies that could potentially negate such a large fee increase at once.  The Chamber also requested that the Cabinet and Division offer a staggered or flexible payment plan in FY 2012 for sources paying over $10,000.  This would allow for businesses paying the majority of the fees to have more time to react and budget accordingly. 

The Chamber also requested the Cabinet meet with stakeholders to discuss other funding mechanisms for the Title V program in the future. 

“One of the energy and environment council’s ideas is to include assessment of permit application fees for new sources.  The thought being that the cost paid for these initials fees could later be credited toward future emission fees once the project was built and operational. We also like the concept of graduated fees for other permit review actions depending upon the type of permitting action requested and time required for review,” explained Brown.


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