Environmental Attorney Resigns From Beshear Boards in Protest

by Erica Peterson on December 3, 2011

Environmental attorney Tom FitzGerald has resigned from two state environmental boards in protest of the Beshear Administration’s policies.

FitzGerald, who is the director of the Kentucky Resources Council, sent an email to Governor Steve Beshear today announcing his decision. In the email, he cites continued state funding cuts to the state Energy and Environment Cabinet–a move which FitzGerald said concerned him that Beshear doesn’t consider the environment a priority.

But the final straw was the Beshear Administration’s firing of Carl Campbell, the Natural Resources Commissioner, earlier this week. That move “brought into sharp relief my growing concern that the Administration has lost its bearing regarding regulation of the coal industry,” FitzGerald wrote.

Several studies have shown that the amount of money coal companies pay into bonds for reclamation of mine sites is insufficient, and Campbell was working to increase the bonds, despite resistance from the coal industry. In his email, FitzGerald calls the timing of Campbell’s firing “disturbing.”

FitzGerald was appointed by Beshear to serve on the Kentucky Environmental Education Council and the Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship.

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