A Crisis In Kentucky Shows the High Cost Of Clean Drinking Water

In Environment, States On

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It’s been “like that” for decades here in Martin County, as it has in other pockmarked parts of coal country. The water crisis peaked last year when service to many residents was shut off, members of the water board quit, and the attorney general opened a criminal investigation into allegations of mismanagement. The Kentucky House recently passed a resolution asking Gov. Matt Bevin (R) to declare a state of emergency and free up resources to fix the dilapidated system.

On Saturday, Bevin held a community forum with residents in Inez, the county seat, where he said he had not decided about the state of emergency but pledged to channel state and federal dollars toward the problem.

“We’ve done more in the last three months than was done in the previous three years,” Bevin said.

The water board’s new chairman, Jimmy Don Kerr, has taken a lead role in trying to reverse the downward trend.

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