From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh
Kentucky won’t meet its coal mine inspection mandate under four-percent budget cuts ordered by Governor Steve Beshear. That’s the word from Energy and Environmental Secretary Len Peters, who says Kentucky law requires six inspections per year beginning January 1st, but the state is having a hard time finding new inspectors.
“The anecdotal information that we’re hearing is that they’re very reluctant to come to work for state government, anticipating the possibility of additional cuts or not having the revenue,” says Peters. “Why would I want to come to work and six months later not actually make it through the probationary period.”
Current law requires three inspections per year, and Peters says with current staffing levels that’s likely all the state can handle right now.
He also warns four key staff positions could be lost at the state Public Service Commission, which would limit the commission’s capacity to adequately review utility rate increases, and site new power plants and transmission lines.