The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced Monday that it will seek large civil penalties against various companies and individuals responsible for the dumping of radioactive waste in landfills located in Estill and Greenup counties.
In some cases, the fines are greater than $2 million. The announcement came hours before a public forum was to be held at Estill County High School on issues surrounding the radioactive waste.
The penalties are the result of illegal activity discovered in landfills in early 2016 and target the processors, transporters and brokers responsible for the transfer of those materials into Kentucky landfills. Evidence shows the activity began as early as May 2015 and involved the illegal transport and disposal of “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material” or “TENORM,” which is a byproduct of pressurized oil drilling or fracking.
The companies and individuals named have 30 days to appeal the penalties. If they do so, the appeals would go to the cabinet's administrative hearings branch for a decision, said Doug Hogan, spokesman for the Health and Family Services Cabinet.
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“State laws prohibit the disposal of radioactive material from out-of-state companies in Kentucky landfills,” said cabinet Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson in a release about the fines. “The cabinet is imposing significant penalties against all those responsible for the illegal activity.”
The Department for Public Health, within the cabinet, is seeking penalties against Advanced TENORM Services of West Liberty in the amount of $2.65 million; Cory Hoskins, owner of BES of West Liberty, $2.65 million. BES does business as Advanced Tenorm Services, and Hoskins was listed as the owner of BES, according to the state.
Other companies to be fined include Fairmont Brine Processing LLC, of Pittsburgh, $1.012 million; Mountain States Environmental of Lancaster, Ohio, $615,000; L.R. Daniels Transportation, Inc. of Ashland $612,000; Pressure Technology of Ohio of Norwich, Ohio, $338,00; Nuverra Environmental Solutions, Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., $143,000; E&R Energy, LLC of Norwich, Ohio ,$140,000; and Cambrian Wells Services, LLC in Norwich, Ohio $30,000.
The monetary amounts of the fines depended on the number of violations discovered, the cabinet said in a release. The illegal activity was discovered at both landfills following an investigation by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.
No criminal charges will be filed in regard to the dumping, the state attorney general’s office said in July.
Craig Williams, project director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, said Monday it “is reassuring to see the stiff penalties being levied.”
But Williams added that it is puzzling that while the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services “identified more-than-adequate justification to take such actions based on illegal acts, the attorney general’s office failed to bring criminal charges due to ‘lack of evidence.’ The AG’s office should take another look.”