LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Some major changes are coming to the agency that’s supposed to monitor the air quality in Louisville. The move comes after a review revealed major flaws in the entire structure of the department.
Until last year, the EPA hadn’t found a major problem with Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District. An audit last year changed all that. Now, the mayor is stepping in and reorganizing the entire agency.
Two reviews uncovered the flaws in the APCD. Among the problems, a lack of oversight and control by upper management, a breakdown in quality control, and out of date equipment.
“It concerns me that public health and public safety was put in jeopardy because of the kinds of issues that were going on with the Air Pollution Control District and now we have the opportunity to correct those,” District 1 Councilwoman Attica Scott said. She fields complaints on a daily basis from her district. “You’ve got the LG&E coal ash plant in the southwest and in west Louisville, you have all of the Rubbertown corridor companies. Every month, I’m getting a complaint about one or two of those issues, so this is a big issue for us,” she explained.
To solve the issues, the APCD will be split into two groups: Air Quality Operations and Strategic Planning and Administration. “It makes sense. It’s about time,” Scott said, “I know our office has tried to work with APCD, but some issues just have not been resolved and addressed to many of the residents that I serve.”
Mayor Greg Fischer announced Keith Talley as the new Director for Louisville Air Pollution Control District. Other changes are already underway, such as more training, contracting with outside labs, and purchasing new equipment.
In a statement, Mayor Fischer said, “You cannot have a growing and vibrant city without clean air and a clean environment. Our response to the review ensures that we will continue to pursue these goals.”
Mayor Fischer said he will continue to closely monitor the agency and asked the state to come back in six months to evaluate their progress.