Fallout from Unauthorized Dumping of Fracking Waste in KY
FRANKFORT, Ky. - The fallout continues from the unauthorized dumping of fracking waste from West Virginia into a Kentucky landfill.
Nearly 2,000 tons of the low-level radioactive waste was moved to the Blue Ridge Landfill near Irvine, a violation of Estill County's host agreement with the solid-waste facility. The county's judge executive, Republican Wallace Taylor, voiced his frustrations Tuesday to lawmakers on the state's Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
"I've lost all trust in the landfill," he said. "It's all about money."
Taylor decried a lack of communication by state regulators, including waiting months to alert local officials that fracking sludge could be headed their way.
On Friday, the state's attorney general said there is insufficient evidence in the case to bring criminal charges. However, Taylor told lawmakers the county is considering filing criminal charges and noted concerns about exposure to the radioactive waste and the potential long-term impacts it could have on the watershed and people's health.
"You do not jeopardize my public," Taylor said. "If I felt in the first minute that my people was in any immediate danger I would have locked that landfill down."
Taylor confirmed that independent testing ordered by the county found no immediate concerns of heightened radioactive levels at the landfill. The county already has filed a civil lawsuit against the companies operating the landfill and those involved in moving the fracking waste from West Virginia to Kentucky. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services has indicated it will seek significant civil penalties over the disposal.
Meanwhile, lawmakers, including Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, waited their turn Tuesday to say, "We don't want Kentucky to be a dumping ground for out-of-state waste. We don't want it to be a dumping ground for dangerous waste and we want to tighten up our regulatory protocol.
"I don't care if it cost money or not," Webb said, "because we've got to protect our people and our environment."