June 7, 2018

CITIZENS CHALLENGE KENTUCKY’S DECISION TO ALLOW RADIOACTIVE WASTE TO REMAIN IN ESTILL COUNTY LANDFILL

For more information contact:

Tom Bonny: (606) 975-5025
Mary Cromer: (540) 817-9652
Michael “Bucky” Wilson: (859) 396-3011
Nancy Farmer: (606) 723-2324

IRVINE, KY – Today the Concerned Citizens of Estill County filed a Petition with the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) Office of Administrative Hearings seeking review of the Cabinet’s decision to allow Advanced Disposal Services’ Blue Ridge Landfill (BRL) to leave in place over 1,000 tons of illegally-dumped radioactive waste in the Estill County, Kentucky landfill.

The citizens group’s petition comes after the EEC’s May 9 announcement that it had accepted the landfill’s proposed Corrective Action Plan (CAP), which calls for the radioactive material to capped in place. EEC is also allowing the landfill to cease all monitoring for radioactive substances leaving the site after the landfill’s routine post-closure period. EEC is not requiring the landfill to provide any additional financial assurances in the event the radioactive waste is released from the landfill. EEC justified its decision, stating that leaving the material in place “provides the greatest short-term protectiveness to human health and the environment.”

The radioactive waste is from hydraulic fracturing operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The waste was dumped illegally at the landfill from July 2015 to February 2016. Because the material was brought in illegally, the precise concentrations of radium 226 and other radionuclides is unknown.

Dr. John Volpe, former Chief Chemist, Kentucky Radiation Health Branch, and former Manager, Kentucky Radiation Health and Toxic Agents Branch, said, “There is limited data for the radioactive waste sent illegally to the Estill County Landfill. In addition, the data lacks verification and validation by an independent third party. This lack of sufficient verified and validated data establishes an unacceptable uncertainty when used for a risk assessment and as the basis of a final decision. The uncertainty places an unacceptable long-term burden on the citizens of Estill County.”

Tom Bonny, who is a founding member of Concerned Citizens of Estill County, agrees, “The citizens of our community deserve to have a better understanding of the actual characteristics and concentration of the TENORM that is buried in our midst before the final CAP is approved.”

The Concerned Citizens of Estill County is represented by Mary Cromer of Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center and Tom Fitzgerald of The Kentucky Resources Council.