Committee passes bills dealing with water permitting and underground excavation

House Bill 386, sponsored by Rep. Chris Freeland, would allow for certain mixing zones for bioaccumulative chemicals of concern to allow companies to meet standards in an environmentally- friendly way as current regulations make it hard to do business. Freeland said the legislation is a good bill that makes it good for business without any harm to environment.

Kentucky Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Kate Shanks testified in favor of the legislation stating Kentucky’s regulations are far more stringent than other states and the bill will help improve competitiveness and the economy.

“Our chemical industry matters. We employ more than 15,000 people, and in 2019, Kentucky exported over $743 million in basic chemicals, a 7.6% increase over the previous year. It’s important that we send a message that this industry is an important part of our overall economy and our role as a top exporter in the U.S. when you consider the size of our population and economy,” Shanks said.

House Bill 303, sponsored by Rep. Sal Santoro, would set up a system for proactive communications between utility companies and excavators to better plan for marking underground facilities before excavation.

The legislation, which has been referred to as the “dig” bill, would ensure reasonable timeframes for operators to complete normal locates and establish timeframes for large project requests, unmapped or untonable facilities, standardize requirements for locating and digging around facilities in a way that is more in line with national industry standard, establish uniform practices, and more.

“I want to thank the contractors and utilities for working with me to improve Kentucky’s underground facility protection. I’m confident that their ability to communicate and focus their efforts will result in better, more timely locates, increasing public safety and allowing important economic development opportunities to move forward in the Commonwealth,” Rep. Santoro said.

Both House Bill 303 and House Bill 386 now move to the full House for consideration on the floor.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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