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Our region of southern and eastern Kentucky is blessed with a unique landscape abounding in scenic beauty, valuable natural resources, and recreation opportunities amongst some of the world’s oldest mountains. I have long believed that our nation and governing laws can carefully balance the protection of our natural resources with vibrant economic development and prosperity.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to ensure that the natural environment of our region is preserved by supporting legislation that protects our National Parks, federal lands and designated wildlife habitat. The pristine forests and natural beauty of our region are blessings for which we all have the responsibility to act as stewards, ensuring their preservation for future generations. With this in mind, I have worked hard to make our rivers and hillsides cleaner with programs such as the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE program. PRIDE is a massive federal, state and local joint effort that, to date, has:

·         Rid our region of over 2,800 illegal trash dumps,

·         Removed nearly 173,000 tons of trash from roadsides, forests, and waterways,

·         Reduced straight pipe discharge by installing over 7,300 septic systems, and

·         Provided over 29,500 homes with access to sanitary wastewater treatment.

PRIDE has also established a PRIDE Community Grant Program to provide funds for environmental improvement projects, with over 1,100 approved so far. PRIDE is also an important community outreach program, increasing public awareness of the need for responsible environmental stewardship and providing valuable volunteer opportunities to our region’s youths. So far, over 650,000 students at all age levels have gotten involved, and over 360,000 volunteers have selflessly combined for over 1.2 million man-hours to improve their communities and restore the natural habitats surrounding them. By working together through efforts like these we can ensure an appropriate balance of protecting our region's rich natural resources while growing businesses, expanding communities, and creating jobs and opportunities for our children.

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