House committee to hold hearings on state’s response to winter storm

Rep. Jim Gooch, chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, announced today that the panel will be conducting hearings to gauge the state’s response to the winter storm in January.

The storm left hundreds of thousands of utility customers around the state without power and water after ice and snow coated most of Kentucky.

From a release announcing the hearings –

“My goal is to see what worked, what didn’t, and what the legislature can do to help before storms like these hit again,” said Rep. Gooch, who chairs the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee. “There is a lot of ground to cover, and it will likely take longer than this legislative session, but I believe we have to do this if we want to be better prepared.”

Rep. Gooch said he will invite the Public Service Commission, which is conducting a similar review for the utilities it oversees. “I’m pleased to see the PSC take on this responsibility, and hope that our inquiries strengthen each other,” he said.

Gooch, a Providence Democrat, said the hearings that begin Thursday will include input from local and state officials along with the state’s utility companies.

“This is not an attempt to place blame on anyone, but to see how we can all improve,” Gooch said in the release. “We benefited from some of the lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina, for example. My hope is that by holding these meetings, we can help others in the future who may find themselves in a similar condition. The more we learn, the better off we all are.”

The first hearing will begin at 9 a.m. EST Thursday in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex.

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