Your business may be required by state and federal law or regulation to have an environmental permit to operate in Kentucky. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, and attached independent commissions, administers environmental regulation, protection, and oversight for natural resources in the Commonwealth.
Natural Resource Management
The Kentucky Department for Natural Resources is a regulatory and inspection agency which provides technical assistance, education and funding to help landowners, institutions, industries, and communities in conserving and sustaining Kentucky's natural resources.
- Mining: The Division of Mine Safety issues licenses for all mining in Kentucky. Requirements for underground and surface mining, as well as applications and forms are available on their website. The Division of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement issues blasting permits, permits to hold and receive explosives, and licenses all blasters in Kentucky. Electronic forms are available on their website. The Division of Mine Permits provides electronic forms, instructions and user guides needed to obtain a mining permit.
- Oil and Gas: The Division of Oil and Gas regulates the crude oil and natural gas industry in the Commonwealth. A permit is required prior to any drilling activity. Consult the Operator’s Manual for all requirements regarding drilling, producing and plugging of oil and gas wells.
- Forestry: The Division of Forestry enforces the requirements of the Kentucky Forest Conservation Act, the Agriculture Water Quality Act and environmental regulations related to forestry operations. The Division administers the Kentucky Master Logger Program, and provides resources for harvesting timber.
The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection implements programs that control air emissions, water discharges, water withdrawals, waste management and waste disposal. Many of these programs require that businesses and operators obtain permits or authorizations prior to engaging in these activities. Some permits are required before a business can begin construction. The specific environmental regulations and permits that may apply will vary depending on the specific location and activities of your business.
Businesses are encouraged to contact the Division of Compliance Assistance to ensure that they receive a comprehensive understanding of all of the permits or authorizations that may apply to their unique circumstances.
- Air: The Division for Air Quality regulates air contaminant sources. Air contaminant, air contaminant source, and other important terms are defined in KRS 224.01-010. For businesses operating in Jefferson County, refer also to the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District permits page.
- Water: The Division of Water regulates sewage/waste discharge into Kentucky waters, withdrawal of water exceeding 10,000 gallons per day from surface, spring, or groundwater sources, construction and physical disturbance activities along streams or wild rivers, and other water related activities.
- Waste Management: The Division of Waste Management regulates and assists businesses involved with recycling, Superfund sites, solid waste, underground storage tanks, and hazardous waste products. If your business creates, uses, stores, transports, or disposes of solid or hazardous wastes in significant amounts, a permit from the Division of Waste Management will likely be required.
The Kentucky Public Service Commission is a three member administrative body with quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial duties and powers regulating over 1,500 utilities. Currently, the Commission regulates the intrastate rates and services of investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone, water and sewage utilities, customer-owned electric and telephone cooperatives, water districts and associations, and certain aspects of gas pipelines.
Endangered and Rare Species
The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission is charged with monitoring and preserving rare species and natural communities throughout the Commonwealth.
Each county in Kentucky is represented by a local conservation district, consisting of seven elected supervisors. These conservation districts assist the landowners in each county with creating and implementing practices to protect the soil and water quality. The conservation districts help conserve Kentucky's resources by helping local people match their needs with technical and financial resources. The Division of Conservation has resources to help you find your local district.