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Comer to examine fuel-testing lab

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Kentucky Enquirer

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has set up a task force to address concerns raised in an audit over the state’s fuel lab, which tests the quality and quantity of fuels and pesticides.

Comer called for an audit this year of the administration of previous Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, who ran for lieutenant governor on David Williams’ ticket in 2011. One of the findings of the audit found the fuel lab cost the state roughly $900,000 last year, according to a statement from Comer’s office. Farmer told legislators in 2008 the fuel lab would generate income for the department, Comer’s statement said.

It was built in 2008 at a cost of $1.65 million with the promise of performing more tests at a lower cost than private companies who had done the work under contracts with the department.

In a news release, Comer called the lab “a money pit for the taxpayers during the previous administration.”

Comer appointed to the task force leaders in the fuel industry, agriculture and government efficiencies. They are:

Wayne Hunt, of Hopkinsville, owner of a large-scale agri-business operations in western Kentucky and chairman of Comer’s transition team.

Phil Moffett, of Louisville, 2011 Republican gubernatorial candidate, former president and CEO of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.

Jenny Inman, of Owensboro, private commodities broker.

Steve Kelly, of New Liberty, deputy executive director of the Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection and acting budget director at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Kathy Gornick, of Lexington, chairs the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions and president of a private business in Lexington.

“These individuals are some of the great, creative minds in their fields,” Comer said in a statement. “It is my hope that their recommendations will help fix what was exposed to be a money pit for the taxpayers during the previous administration.”

--Kentucky News Content Service