FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 7, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on work to address the water shortage in the city of Marion, efforts to ease the burden of rising costs for Kentuckians, the Commonwealth Sheltering Program, Western Kentucky tornado recovery, Christmas in July events for families impacted by December tornadoes, the state’s electric vehicle infrastructure deployment plan and COVID-19. He also paid tribute to the three Floyd County officers and a K-9 who lost their lives in service to their community last week.
Gov. Beshear Honors Fallen Floyd County Officers
The Governor recognized three officers and a K-9 who were killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 30, in Floyd County. Gov. Beshear honored Capt. Ralph Frasure, Deputy William Petry and Officer Jacob Chaffins for their service and dedication to protecting the commonwealth.
“Last Thursday was a tragic night for our commonwealth. Heartbreakingly, we lost three heroic officers and a K-9, making the shooting Kentucky’s deadliest incident for law enforcement in nearly 100 years,” said Gov. Beshear. “Please continue to think about Capt. Ralph Frasure, Deputy William Petry and Officer Jacob Chaffins. They will never be forgotten.”
Helping Marion Address Water Shortage
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of numerous state agencies, local officials and private companies, progress is being made toward short- and long-term fixes to the city of Marion’s water emergency.
To help with a boil water advisory, which was issued by the city Thursday, bottled water is being brought in and distributed three days a week for drinking and cooking use. The National Guard has been bringing in tankers of water from nearby rivers and adding it to Old City Lake, which now feeds the water treatment plant. On Wednesday, private haulers are bringing in drinking water to the city’s collection well.
A channel was dug in Crooked Creek that feeds Old City Lake, allowing the release of thousands of gallons of water that had been blocked to raise the lake’s water levels.
In other good news, the city is now receiving 144,000 gallons of water per day from the Crittenden-Livingston Water District through an interconnect with Webster County, significantly increasing the volume of water. Also this week, the state took steps to ensure that even if the lake level falls, the city will still have water with the installation of a floating intake.
“Our priority is to ensure everyone in the city of Marion has access to clean, safe water today and well into the future,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have made progress and we have more plans in the works for other hookups with water sources in surrounding districts.”
EPA Urged to Allow Butane Gas Additive
Last week, Gov. Beshear sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators asking them to issue a waiver allowing for the use of butane as an additive blend for gasoline.
Last month, in an effort to bring down the overall cost of gas, the agency issued a waiver that increased the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline. The higher-ethanol blend, however, is only available at approximately 1.5% of fueling stations nationwide. Also, increases in the price of corn over the summer could quickly erode any cost savings provided by mixing higher concentrations of ethanol.
Butane has historically been relied upon as a cost-effective way to blend gasoline during periods of supply disruption. This spring, the cost of butane was more than $1.30 cheaper per gallon than ethanol on average, and allowing butane-blended gasoline now could significantly lower the per gallon price of gas for Kentuckians.
Two weeks ago, the Governor declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s price-gouging laws to combat high gas prices. Learn more about the full list of actions taken by the Governor’s administration to ease the burden of rising costs for Kentuckians here.
Commonwealth Sheltering Program
Almost seven months after the December 2021 tornadoes, everyone eligible for a travel trailer has been provided one. The Commonwealth Sheltering Program, administered through Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), no longer has a wait list for this medium-term housing option.
KYEM and KYTC are focused on assisting those remaining in state parks, hotels and travel trailers in finding permanent housing solutions. The Commonwealth Sheltering Program will continue until all survivors have transitioned to more permanent housing solutions.
Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund
Today, the Governor announced an increase in the funding from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to the Graves County Grain Assistance Program.
“We are happy to get this money to local farmers who need a way to process their crops after the Mayfield Grain Co. was devastated by tornado damage,” said Gov. Beshear.
The Graves County Grain Assistance Program was established when the administration was contacted by Graves County Judge/Executive Jesse Perry and local farmers. The group was concerned about the potential loss of crop yield and sought assistance for local farmers, who are an important part of ensuring the state has an ample grain supply.
The assistance application has been open for two weeks and has received nearly 100 applications, with more arriving daily. While these applications have not yet been processed, the need is larger than anticipated.
Kentucky farmers who conduct business with Mayfield Grain Co. can get more information and apply for assistance here.
Over 150,000 individuals and organizations from all over the world have contributed to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund, raising nearly $52 million to assist in long-term recovery.
To date, more than $26.8 million has been distributed from the fund to individual Kentuckians and families as they rebuild from the devastating December 2021 tornadoes. This includes funeral expenses to the families of the deceased, payments to insured and uninsured homeowners and renters and funds to build 300 homes through the help of Homes and Hope for Kentucky, Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center on Housing.
Donations to the fund are still being accepted. All donations to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund are tax-deductible and donors will receive a receipt for tax purposes after donating. To contribute, visit the Team Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund online here.
Christmas in July Events
First Lady Britainy Beshear and Gov. Beshear are inviting families impacted by the December 2021 tornadoes to join them for upcoming Christmas in July events, which will help demonstrate the true meaning of the Christmas spirit during the summer season as Western Kentucky continues to rebuild and recover.
The events will include Santa Claus, food and gifts, including toys and presents from the First Lady’s Christmas Toy Drive that were delivered after Christmas or were left over after four local toy giveaways and deliveries directly to Western Kentucky families. The Christmas in July celebrations will allow families to take home additional gifts after they’ve settled into in medium-term or permanent housing.
Although the First Lady is no longer accepting toy or gift card donations, she strongly encouraged those who want to support families impacted by the historic tornadoes to donate to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.
To see a list of upcoming Christmas in July celebrations and to RSVP for the events, click here.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan
In the last nine months, Kentucky has become the electric vehicle battery production capital of the United States. Today, the Governor announced the initial plan for the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Kentucky’s plan for Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs) was approved yesterday by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy. These alternative fuel corridors will be developed to support wider use of vehicles that run on electricity.
Kentucky’s AFCs include all 11 interstate routes and eight parkways. The charging stations are required to be fast charging and will be located every 50 miles, with four chargers per station. Through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, Kentucky will receive $69.5 million in federal funding over five years for this project. With matching funds, it will be a total of $86.9 million. Gov. Beshear expects Kentucky to qualify for more funds to expand the state’s corridors.
“This is a good start, but it is only the start. With electric vehicles being the future and Kentucky leading the way, we are going to continue to build this out to make sure everybody is included,” said Gov. Beshear.
Gov. Beshear said the state is experiencing a slight escalation of cases, with 10,191 cases announced June 27 through July 3. The positivity rate is also experiencing a slight increase at 15.75% on July 3. Overall hospitalizations in Kentucky, as well as the number of patients in the ICU and on a ventilator, are increasing, but they are not rising proportionately to rising cases.