The division reflects on the amazing progress it has made since its creation in 2004. Four programs are in place to benefit the environment and Kentucky's citizens. The programs are KY EXCEL, Environmental Compliance Assistance, Brownfield Redevelopment and Certification and Licensing.
Significant progress has been made to improve the environment, but the need for greater energy efficiency and diversification, educating the public about the importance of recycling, cleaning Kentucky's waterways, advocating the wise use of green spaces and improving the quality of the air we breathe are constant issues to be faced.
Environmental Compliance Assistance Program staff participated on a team of state and federal agencies that worked to bring collision repair workshops to the Commonwealth and other states in the southeast.
Some of the points covered in this annual report include an increase in the rate of recycling and a decline in waste ending up at landfills. Though Kentucky has relatively low energy costs, it ranks seventh in energy usage. Even with a plentiful water supply, it is still important not to waste water. Air quality has improved greatly since emissions from large facilities have been controlled, but individuals can help to improve the air quality even more.
This fiscal year, DCA redefined its strategic objectives to highlight three core responsibilities---certifying professionals, simplifying compliance and encouraging environmental leadership. Materials were revised and procedures were updated to improve quality. Due to budget restraints, DCA concentrated on providing more services without increasing expenses.
DCA faced numerous challenges, such as budget cuts and a significant turnover in key positions that were occupied by veteran employees, but dealt with them in a professional manner.
KY EXCEL partnered with the Kentucky Distillers Association for outreach to the spirits industry on environmental stewardship initiatives by holding the first Sustainable Spirits Summit.
The division will fund its first brownfield cleanup projects through the Kentucky Brownfield Redevelopment Program's Revolving Loan Fund, enhance tracking and reporting on sustainable/environmental projects conducted through the KY EXCEL program and introduce a new e-learning format for compost operations through the Certification and Licensing Branch.
The Steve Crosman Award for Outstanding Environmental Professionalism for Service Above and Beyond what is required of a drinking water or wastewater operator was established.
Despite hard economic times, DCA staff members have worked to improve the services they offer. The first Cleaner Commonwealth
Fund Grants were awarded and changes were made in liability to attract prospective purchasers to brownfields. For small businesses and individuals needing compliance assistance, the division created online, self-paced learning modules.
The Division of Compliance Assistance celebrates its tenth anniversary by taking a look at the improvements it has made in that period. The Certification and Licensing Branch demonstrated its efficiency by assuming administration of the certification of the solid waste operators without adding more staff. The division began an outreach to the agricultural community regarding agricultural water quality and best practices.
The KY EXCEL program was recognized when Governor Matt Bevin declared the week of June 5-11 as KY EXCEL Member Week. The division also introduced the new KY EXCEL Farm program. The Environmental Compliance Assistance Program increased the number of trainings for the regulated community from five the previous year to 19 in 2016. The entire Energy and Environment Cabinet moved to the new 300 Sower Boulevard Building.
This year we increased our outreach efforts and the number of training events. We continue those efforts while we focus on doing things in more efficient and innovative ways. We learn from our KY EXCEL members and the ways they demonstrate stewardship every day. We look toward the future and try to prepare new operators to take over for the workforce we see retiring in the next few years. We are excited to see the ways communities are redeveloping their brownfield areas and utilizing our grants and loan program to revitalize neighborhoods. We continue to work with our sister agencies to develop trainings that help businesses train their new staff and bring a greater number of facilities into compliance.