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This summer’s trends bring plenty of options Features 1E


draws ire
Plan would allow companies
to cut trees blocking view
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Proposed state regula-
tions would give billboard companies the au-
thority to cut trees that block the view of their
signs — a power the companies have sought,
but failed to get, from the General Assembly
for years.
But environmental groups raised a wide
range of objections to the proposal Friday at a
hearing at the Kentucky Trans-
portation Cabinet.
Tom “No billboard improves safe-
ty since their purpose is to di-
vert your attention and read
State House
their message,” said Paul Berg-
mann, executive director of
Scenic Kentucky. A billboard,
he said, “creates many an un-
sightly condition and certainly
does not improve on the natural
aesthetic beauty of the Ken-
tucky countryside.”
But Leigh Ann Thacker, lobbyist for the Out-
door Advertising Association of Kentucky, said
the proposed regulations have been written to
avoid environmental damage. “There really is
no clear-cutting involved here,” he said. “We’re
really only talking about trimming and cutting
around the board.”
The two sides also clashed on other aspects
of the package of regulations, with environ-
mentalists expressing concerns they could
lead to the spread of new billboards and the in-



KYLE SLAGLE/GANNETT Trees partially cover a billboard along I-64 in
Louisville. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
plans to hold a public hearing on proposed sign
regulations. Environmental groups oppose them.

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Pope Francis prepares to weigh in on faith, environment !"  &!( '$ ! ) ( &&"  "&

hen the Rev. Gary Padgett plans to speak on the politically
James charged issue of climate change to a Catholic congregation, he "  " "
Bruggers undertakes a delicate process. ¶ He said he avoids “talking
Environment points,” keeps language ambiguous and tries to show how care $
for what he describes as God’s creation is relevant to people’s lives and faith.
“I am thinking how am I going to craft my message so that it can be heard,”
said Padgett, the former Ascension parish priest who now heads the St.
James and St. Brigid parishes in the Highlands. “IfSnow
they are polarized, it’s
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See POPE, Page 21A

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Called to respond

POPE “To a large extent it’s man that In Louisville, the non-
profit group Kentucky In-
Continued from Page 1A slaps nature’s face continually. ... terfaith Power and Light
has a Cool Congregations
Catholic pastors like If you slap her on the face, she program that explores the
Padgett, other leaders and way faith communities
parishioners in Louisville does so in turn. I think we have can become better stew-
and around the world who ards of the planet, and has
are concerned about cli- exploited nature too much.” conducted energy audits,
mate change will soon be including one for the St.
getting some guidance. James and St. Brigid par-
Pope Francis is planning ishes that parish leaders
to inject a major dose of say will help guide future
ethics and morality into energy efficiency mea-
the problem of a warming sures. St. Brigid now has
planet, and how humanity electricity-sipping LED
should respond to scien- lighting, for example.
tists’ warnings of costly, “We are making a
deadly climate disruption statement that care for
in the decades and centu- our creation, for our envi-
ries ahead. ronment, is important in
This summer he’s plan- our decision making,”
ning to release a papal en- Padgett said.
cyclical, a letter to the And St. William
3,000 Catholic bishops, Church, part of the Louis-
that officials expect will ville Archdiocese, has had
offer guidance on how POPE FRANCIS, Jan. 17 news conference as translated by ZENIT solar panels since 2009.
Catholic theology views The United Church of
the relationship between GETTY IMAGES/INGRAM PUBLISHING Christ and the Unitarian
humans and God’s cre- Vatican City at Sunset Universalists are divest-
ation. ing in fossil fuels, and the
Experts said it is the Presbyterian Church
most significant type of WHAT’S YOUR STORY? Within the faith, he stewards of the Earth. But USA is considering that.
communication any pope said the pope’s words will he said he is leery of “con- First Unitarian Church
can make. It would also be Is your church, synagogue or faith community concerned cause some Catholics and versations about climate in Louisville also has in-
the first encyclical to ad- about climate change? If so, please let reporter James Brug- parishes to look at their change as anti-human, stalled solar panels and
dress the environment gers know why, and what you are doing about it, for potential own contributions to glob- that human beings are a regularly features the en-
and climate change — an follow-up stories. If not, please tell us why. Write Bruggers at al warming, and consider blight on the planet. Hu- vironment in its mission,
issue of particular con- ways to reduce their car- man beings are not a said its pastor, the Rev.
cern in Kentucky and In- bon footprints. blight on the planet. Dawn Cooley.
diana with their coal-de- threat. cratically controlled That’s already been “It will be interesting “Every day, we see evi-
pendent economies. “The scientific com- House of Representatives happening, he added. to see the balance the dence that it is already
The impact may be felt munity is telling us there passed a cap-and-trade “There has been an in- pope strikes.” causing suffering for peo-
far beyond the Catholic isn’t much time,” said the bill in 2009, but that bill creased desire among Many younger evan- ple around the world,” she
Church and its 1.2 billion Rev. Michael F. Czerny, a was defeated in the Sen- parishes, and I hope with- gelicals are increasingly said. “We are called as
followers, the largest Jesuit priest and counsel- ate. in society, to develop concerned about the cli- people of faith and con-
Christian denomination in or to Cardinal Peter Turk- The pope’s words could clean alternatives and mate, he acknowledged. science to work to heal
the world, because of the son, who is the leader of reach Congress on differ- sustainable energy.” But he said he is con- and sustain our planet, for
pope’s huge audience, the peace and justice arm ent terms, Wirzba said. He also expects to see cerned about the costs of ourselves, for our chil-
popularity and gravitas. of the Vatican that has With “faith and moral- conferences where what are put forward as dren, for future genera-
“It has the potential to been developing the docu- ity,” Wirzba said, “imme- priests and others may climate solutions. “That’s tions.”
be a real game changer,” ment. diately there is common gather to discuss how to a situation where I don’t A key underpinning of
said Norman Wirzba, pro- Czerny was in Louis- ground, when you talk respond to the pope’s con- believe there’s a clear an- the Louisville-based Pres-
fessor of theology, ecolo- ville recently for the Fes- about children and grand- cerns, and study guides swer,” he said. byterian Church USA is to
gy and rural life at Duke tival of Faiths. “If we have children.” developed for Catholics. The good news, he said, advocate for the poor and
University. “It will draw been slow, we have to Rob Steurer, spokes- The pope’s letter will “is that there are a lot most vulnerable, said the
attention from people not catch up, or at least not man for Sen. Mitch also factor into the work more conversations about Rev. Rebecca Barnes, co-
just in the church, but miss the train entirely,” McConnell, the Republi- of the U.S. Conference of the responsibilities of ordinator of that denomi-
people from outside the he said in an interview. can from Louisville and Catholic Bishops, said stewardship.” nation’s environmental
church. They will want to Czerny noted the land- Senate majority leader, Kurtz, the president of A lot of faith communi- ministries. And the poor
know what the pope has to mark 1992 United Nations declined to comment for that group, the official or- ties in the United States are likely to be hardest hit
say.” Earth Summit and a re- this story. ganization of the Catholic were generally slow to by climate change.
sulting treaty with its ob- “We’re not going to be hierarchy in the United embrace environmental She cited rapid glacier
Critics respond jective of stabilizing able to weigh in on some- States. concerns when they first melt that threatens water
Other popes have greenhouse gases. thing we haven’t seen “This is going to have a took prominence in the supplies to millions in Pe-
raised the alarm about the “Its recommendations yet,” Steurer said. mighty effect when we 1960s, said Wirzba, who ru and said she welcomes
environment and even cli- have largely been ig- take positions on specific previously taught at Ken- the papal engagement.
mate change. nored,” Czerny added. ‘Integral ecology’ pieces of legislation” in tucky’s Georgetown Col- “It will give a new
Pope John Paul II in In the Archdiocese of Congress, he added. lege. chance for everyone to
1990, for example, warned Address to Congress Louisville, Archbishop Jo- “Many called it ‘new speak about their faith
in a speech about a crisis Greenhouse gas levels seph E. Kurtz said the en- Evangelicals age worship,’ or pagan- life and how it forms their
depletion of the ozone lay- continue to climb, with cyclical will likely prompt suspicious ism, and there was a lot of daily decisions about how
er and the greenhouse ef- scientists increasingly discussion, action and an The biggest asset the hesitance on the part of they will live in the
fect, blaming “industrial warning that global “institutional response.” pope brings to the table is Christians,” he said. world,” she said.
growth, massive urban warming and its rising The archdiocese serves a very large base of pop- But increasingly peo-
concentrations and vastly seas and supercharged 200,000 Catholics in 111 ularity, said University of ple of faith are seeing Reach reporter James Brug-
increased energy needs.” weather are no longer a parishes in 24 counties in Louisville political sci- care for the environment gers at (502) 582-4645 or on
But an encyclical car- distant threat. Central Kentucky. ence assistant professor as a matter of moral obli- Twitter @jbruggers.
ries much more weight. The National Oceanic “I suspect our Holy Fa- David Buckley, whose ex- gation, he said.
And while Francis’ letter and Atmospheric Admini- ther is going to try to pin- pertise includes religion,
has not leaked out yet, stration earlier this point what is distinctive science and politics.
Vatican officials have month found that the glob- about Catholic theology The pope has the poten-
been outspoken about al monthly average con- and what Catholic theol- tial to bridge a gap be-
their concern for how hu- centration of heat-trap- ogy can bring to the envi- tween white evangelicals
mans are damaging the ping carbon dioxide in the ronment,” Kurtz said. and the religiously unaf-
planet, identifying fossil atmosphere exceeded 400 Kurtz said he antici- filiated, “one of the most
fuels such as coal that parts per million, a level pates it will explore some- conservative sectors of
emit climate pollution as likely unprecedented for thing called “integral the electorate and one of
an urgent concern. millions of years. ecology,” which was the most liberal sectors of
It’s all prompted a Czerny said he does not discussed earlier this the electorate,” Buckley
backlash from some know exactly what the year in a speech by Cardi- said.
camps, including some pope’s communication nal Turkson titled “Inte- Polling also shows that
conservative religious will say. gral ecology and the hori- Catholics in the United
circles and the libertar- But he noted the pope zon of hope: Concern for States are likely to be re-
ian, free-market Chicago- in January said he wanted the poor and for creation ceptive of a papal state-
based Heartland Insti- the letter to be useful to in the ministry of Pope ment on climate change,
tute, which denies main- diplomats who are work- Francis.” he added.
stream climate science. ing on a new climate In the speech in Ire- But a key question,
“The Holy Father is be- change treaty that seeks land, Turkson said inte- Buckley said, is whether
ing misled by ‘experts’ at to blunt dangerous cli- gral ecology provides religious concern for the
the United Nations who mate change, leading up “the basis for authentic environment gets trans-
have proven unworthy of to a United Nations sum- and sustainable ap- lated into political action,
his trust,” said Heartland mit in Paris later this year. proaches to human devel- and that’s where real dif-
Institute President Jo- In that same news confer- opment.” ferences can emerge, es-
seph Bast in a recent ence, the pope said people Kurtz said it involves pecially with white evan-
statement. “Though Pope “have exploited nature human ecology and natu- gelicals who are skeptical
Francis’ heart is surely in too much.” ral ecology, bringing of government power.
the right place, he would The pope also is sched- them together as one. The “Evangelicals are go-
do his flock and the world uled this fall to speak be- pope has also talked a lot ing to be very suspicious,”
a disservice by putting his fore a joint meeting of about the problem of a said the Rev. Albert Moh-
moral authority behind Congress — a first for any “throw-away culture,” ler, president of the South-
the United Nations’ unsci- pope. Kurtz added, “where we ern Baptist Theological
entific agenda on the cli- Congress has been un- disrespect people and we Seminary in Louisville.
mate.” able to agree on any disrespect things, and we He said he agrees with
The pope’s advisers, sweeping climate protec- tend to turn in on our- a Christian imperative to
however, see an urgent tion legislation. A Demo- selves.” care for creation and be






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