Massaroni files bill to help property owners deal with black distillery mold


Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024 — In response to local residents’ complaints about the impact of distilleries’ “whiskey fungus/black mold” on the exterior of their homes, automobiles, and other property, 50th District State Rep. Candy Massaroni unveiled House Bill 479 has Massaroni unveiled HB 479 last Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.


The bill is a comprehensive initiative to tackle the impact of black mold on the properties located near the county’s bourbon distilleries and warehouses.

The key provisions of HB 479 include:

  1. Distilled Spirits Environmental Fund: Establishing the Distilled Spirits Environmental Fund to effectively manage collected fees and reimbursements, ensuring transparency and accountability in addressing environmental concerns stemming from distillery operations.

  2. Reimbursement Program for “Angel Dust”: Introducing a crucial program for reimbursing property owners for cleaning expenses associated with the environmental impact of the “soot” or “black mold” caused by distilleries.

  3. Appeals Process: Acknowledging the necessity for fairness, the bill incorporates an appeals process through the Kentucky Fire Commission, allowing rickhouse owners to contest fees they deem unjustly assessed.

  4. Billing, Penalties, and Liens: The legislation clearly outlines provisions for billing rickhouse owners directly, imposing penalties for non-payment, and establishing liens on properties to ensure compliance and accountability.

Without the barrel tax that is being phased out by House Bill 5 (approved by the 2023 General Assembly), local citizens’ tax dollars will be used for providing materials needed for rickhouse fires. This legislation will prevent that from happening.

“While engaging with the community, I consistently hear concerns about the ‘black soot’ on personal properties from distilleries, and it’s time to address it,” Rep. Massaroni said.

“HB 479 aims to strike a balance by addressing fire protection needs and environmental concerns caused by distilleries, ensuring the health and safety of our community.”

Massaroni underscored the importance of community involvement and encouraged public discussion on this proposed legislation.


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