January 25, 2001
Itís been a
pleasure and a rare privilege to have served as the Governor of Kentucky these
past five years. Iíve gotten to
travel the globe and see places I would never have gotten to see, experience
pleasures I would never have gotten to experience, and meet people I would never
have gotten to meet Ė and the most common response IĎve received when Iíve
said, ďIím Paul Patton, Governor of Kentucky,Ē has been ďooh, Kentucky!
Itís such a beautiful state.Ē And
theyíre right. Kentucky is a beautiful state.
Itís green; itís mountains; itís bluegrass; itís Mississippi
Delta; itís metropolitan; itís water; itís farmland; itís beautiful.
At least most of it is. 99
percent of it is. No, 99.99 percent
of Kentucky is beautiful, clean, healthy, something we can be proud of.
Iím here today to talk about that one hundredth of one percent of
Kentucky that spoils the other 99.99 percent of the state we love.
about the approximately thirty-three hundred illegal garbage dumps that despoil
our state; the unsightly litter that exists on every road in the Commonwealth;
the approximately one hundred old landfills that have not yet been properly and
safely closed and will need extensive clean-up work.
you to join me here today to see firsthand a sight that countless Kentuckians
unnecessarily must drive by and live with every day in every one of our
counties. These dumps are not just
unsightly; theyíre unhealthy; they harbor disease; they nourish rats, dogs,
wild animals that mix with our domestic animals and carry filth and disease into
our communities and homes. And they
hurt our economy. They discourage
tourism. They could prevent
companies from locating in Kentucky. They
give the impression that we have no pride in our Commonwealth.
And I know of no other condition that could do more to discourage our
efforts to participate in the ďNew EconomyĒ than somebody elseís garbage
greeting a ďNew EconomyĒ entrepreneur.
In this age when many of the people we want to attract can work where
they want to live rather than have to live where they want to work, quality of
life; a clean environment, is even more important. With 3,000 dumps like this in Kentucky, weíve got a
problem. If our people were fully
aware of the danger these dumps present to them in their homes and their
communities they would rise up in revolt until we did something about it.
ago, in a special session called by Governor Wilkinson to address the issue of
solid waste, we made a commitment to a clean Kentucky. Weíve made a lot of progress.
The landfills weíre using today protect our environment and our people.
Twenty-five counties have enacted universal solid waste collection
programs. Eighty percent of our
people have curbside solid waste collection services available to them.
Half or maybe even three-fourths of the rest of our people make that
extra effort to dispose of their garbage the right way.
Itís that other 5 percent of our people that are too busy or too
inconvenienced or simply donít care that cause the illegal dumps and unsightly
litter that makes Kentucky less beautiful, less enjoyable, less healthy than it
can be. Itís that 5 percent that
we have to get to.
ago, I asked Secretary Bickford to develop a comprehensive program to cleanup
Kentucky and keep it clean. The
Secretary and his people have developed such a program which Iím convinced
will, in 10 years, create a clean, healthy Kentucky and develop in our people,
especially our young people, a commitment to keep it clean and healthy.
our long-term goal of creating in the minds of our people the commitment to a
clean Kentucky, they proposed a consistent, effective, comprehensive statewide
public information and education program aimed particularly at our children.
This program would cost about 3 million dollars a year and be
administered by the state.
proposed a 4 million dollar a year statewide roadside litter cleanup program
funded by the state and operated by the counties.
This money would be distributed to the counties, one-half based on
population, one-half based on road miles. The
state Transportation Cabinet will continue to spend about 4 million dollars a
year cleaning up major state roads.
million dollars would be provided to counties based on population to assist them
with recycling programs.
dollars would be provided to counties based on population to cleanup illegal
dumps. When all the county dumps
are cleaned up the money could be used at the countyís discretion.
additional million dollars would be distributed by the cabinet to counties that
have extraordinary problems with illegal dumps.
When all illegal dumps in the state are cleaned up this money will be
sent to the counties based on population.
dollars would be used to begin the process of properly closing old municipal
landfills, distributed by the cabinet according to need.
The first step will be to do extensive evaluations to determine the
magnitude of the problem and develop a comprehensive program to eliminate it.
would take over the current automobile and machinery recyclers regulation
program now administered by the Transportation Cabinet and enhance it.
The cost would be about 400,000 dollars.
administration of all these programs would cost about one and a half million
dollars. The overall cost would be
about 30 million dollars.
of all this effort has to be an effective user-financed universal curbside solid
waste collection program administered by each county. Twenty-five counties are already doing it.
The other 95 can and should do the same.
user-financed program, there will be no direct cost to the counties and little
administrative cost to the state.
General Bickford and his staff for their outstanding work and Iím committed to
advancing the entire plan. However,
Iíve received a very strong message from the leadership of both houses of the
legislature that they donít view this session as a time to increase or
decrease revenue or to address budget issues.
While this position is not embraced by all of the legislative leadership,
at this time it is shared by the majority of leadership.
In trying to maintain a mutually cooperative relationship with the
legislative leadership, I will not be proposing a revenue measure at this time.
As you know, Representative Stumbo has proposed a revenue measure to fund
a program very much like our proposal. I
am not opposing Representative Stumboís proposal, Iím just honoring my
commitment to leadership to not address revenue or budgetary matters in this
session. While our total program is
something we canít afford right now, itís something we canít afford not to
do over the long run.
brought you to this particular site to illustrate the problem. This is the site that Speaker Richards and I helped cleanup
almost 2 years ago. Look at it now.
This site is actually located in a county that offers universal garbage
collection but borders a county that does not.
I doubt if a Franklin County citizen did this because their solid waste
service is paid for with their tax money. It
was most likely thrown here by a citizen of another county passing through. This site is a perfect example of two things:
(1) how our neighborsí actions impact our lives and (2) why the first
priority of any program to create a clean Kentucky must be a universal solid
waste collection program implemented statewide to stop the illegal dumping on
element of the Generalís proposal that can be done and, because of the long
implementation time, needs to be done right now is the universal curbside solid
waste collection program. Itíll
take up to 2 years to get this program operational statewide and until we stop
people from using illegal garbage dumps, itís a losing battle to clean them
And so until
we get the money to fully implement the Secretaryís comprehensive proposal, I
call on the General Assembly to enact the universal curbside solid waste
collection portion because itís the part that has to be done first.
worked as long and as hard and as conscientiously as we know how to develop an
effective program that would have broad support with the public and the members
of the General Assembly. We
havenít gotten there yet. After
extensive consultation with the leaders of both parties and both houses, our
proposal is viewed by some as too much, by some as too little, and others are
waiting to see more detail.
I have waited
to get consensus as long as I can. I
must now take my case to the citizens of Kentucky.
I ask those who want a clean Kentucky, and who know that if weíre going
to have it, weíve got to pay for it, to get involved. Organize your community.
Call your legislators. Come
to Frankfort. Give all of us who
want this program the support we need to make the right decision.
Now is the time.
I want to
re-emphasize that I support the entire program and I think the cost is
reasonable, 8 dollars a year, 63 cents a month, a little more than 2 cents per
day per Kentuckian. While
some of the program will have to wait, the prerequisite, the part that has to
happen and happen first, universal curbside collection can, should and must
start now. A cleaner Kentucky means a healthier Kentucky. It
means more tourists, and it means more businesses will want to locate and create
jobs here. I call Kentuckians to
arms. I call for action.
I call all of us to fight for a clean Kentucky.
I ask the Kentucky General Assembly to enact this proposed legislation