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State To Continue Contract With Climate Change Consultant

Kentucky state government will continue a $200,000 contract it has with a Washington consultant on climate change. Last week, a legislative oversight panel rejected the contract because many members fear the consulting firm is biased against the coal industry. Governor Beshear disagrees, and said this week he supports Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters’ decision to work with the center.

“I don’t think the secretary would have asked for that contract if he didn’t think he needed it. And I’m sure we need that kind of work done for the task force that we have set up.”

The Courier-Journal reports that that administration officials notified committee staff Thursday that it would retain the center.

The oversight committee’s vote to reject the contract was not binding on the administration. The consultant is assisting the Kentucky Climate Action Plan Council, which is studying ways for the commonwealth to cope with climate change. The council includes coal industry representatives, as well as environmentalists.

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Panel Ends Contract With D.C. Environmental Group

The Kentucky Climate Action Plan Council, convened by Governor Steve Beshear, is expected to produce a final report and recommendations later this year for addressing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.

But without the assistance of a consulting firm it was counting on, it’s no longer clear whether the plan will be on time. A Kentucky legislative oversight committee voted not to renew the consulting firm’s $200,000 contract, criticizing the Washington D.C.-based Center for Climate Strategies’ influence. But Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman Dick Brown says legislators need not be concerned.

“We have tried to alleviate those fears and those concerns, particularly as they relate to what this group means to the Kentucky Climate Council, and the work of the Council, and what the intent is. The intent is not related to moving away from coal as an energy source,” he said.

Brown says Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller can still override the legislators’ decision and renew the consulting firm’s contract.