The Oil and Gas Workgroup Files Status Report on the Safe Production, Handling and Disposal of Oil and Gas Waste

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2016) – The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has submitted a 32-page status report with the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission from the Oil and Gas Workgroup that contains recommendations for the safe handling of oil and gas waste.

Guided by the recommendations, the Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) will now develop amendments to regulations related to oil and gas exploration and waste disposal.

Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely convened the Oil and Gas Workgroup in March 2016 to address issues raised in the that year’s legislative session surrounding the illegal importation of wastes with enhanced concentrations of radioactive materials into Kentucky, to review current issues impacting the oil and gas industry  and to suggest revisions to statutes and regulations as appropriate.

House Bill 563 directed the EEC and CHFS to review and revise existing regulations to ensure proper management of oil and gas-related wastes and report to the Legislative Research Committee by December 1, 2016.

“I want to thank everyone in the workgroup who worked together, through different needs and perspectives, to produce a document that meets the needs of both industry and residents and creates a future in which Kentucky will have a transparent, safe way to handle oil and gas wastes,” Secretary Snavely said.

The workgroup, which began meeting in May 2016, included members from various agencies of both cabinets, oil and gas producers, transporters of oil and gas waste, the public at large, environmental organizations, the Kentucky Geological Survey, and landfill owners/operators.

Among its recommendations:

  • Revise definitions of NORM and TENORM.
  • Create a regulatory approach on how waste from oil and gas operations should be properly managed on site. Establish limits for levels that can be disposed in contained landfills in Kentucky.
  • Set limits for what level of waste cannot be disposed in Kentucky landfills.
  • Codify how waste should be analyzed, managed and monitored to ensure protection of landfill workers and current and future residents living near the landfills.

In future meetings, the work group will resolve outstanding issues and finalize the recommendations and findings. Based on the findings and recommendations of the work group, executive branch agencies will coordinate with members of the General Assembly and affected stakeholders to develop and implement legislative and regulatory changes.

 A copy of the status report can be obtained at the following website address: