THE COMMONWEALTH OF Kentucky is known chiefly for producing horses, tobacco, whiskey, and bluegrass music. The state's coalfields, wetlands, waters, and for ests are valuable resources, but they present unique environmental concerns that affect global warming and climate change. Forests and agricultural lands are regularly converted for industrial use, destroying habitats that are essential in protecting the state's ecosystems. Fuel-fired power plants pose a major threat to health and the environment. Kentucky borders seven states: Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Because of this, Kentucky's environment has a significant impact on a large area beyond its own borders.


The key element in Kentucky's environmental initiatives is educating the public and businesses, teaching residents about the ways in which specific behaviors make Kentucky more vulnerable to global warming and climate change. In 1992, Kentucky began tracking and reporting on 100 indicators involved in protecting the environment. The reports have been instrumental in passing environmentally-friendly laws, forcing state agencies to set environmental policy priorities, and holding the government accountable when they fail to protect Kentucky's environment.

The chief responsibility for reducing activities that increase global warming and climate change in Kentucky is assigned to the Department for Environmental Protection (DEP), which houses the Division for Air Quality, the Division of Environmental Services, the Division of Waste Management, and the Division of Water. The Environmental Services Division supports the DEP in ensuring compliance with state and federal guidelines in underground storage tanks, groundwater, superfund sites, toxic emission control, rivers, lakes, and streams. Additional responsibilities for Kentucky's environment are divided among the Department of Agriculture, the Governor's Office of Agricultural Policy, the Office for Consumer and Environmental Protection, the Environmental Education Council, the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, the Environmental Quality Commission, the Department for Natural Resources, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, and the State Nature Preserves Commission.

Kentucky is ranked 26th in the United States in terms of population. The capital of the commonwealth is Frankfurt, but population and industry are centered in the Louisville-Jefferson County and

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