House Bill aiming to better regulate dumping of radioactive waste, prevent situations like at Estill County landfill

Published: Mar. 10, 2016 at 3:36 PM EST
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State Rep. Cluster Howard testified in front of a house committee on Thursday, explaining how it has been a very trying time for some in his district.

"It's been a very difficult time for people in Estill County. They have many fears and they have many concerns," said Rep. Howard.

Which is why days after the state confirmed radioactive waste from out of state was dumped in an Estill County landfill ... House Bill 563 was introduced to legislators.

"This had to be done to ensure the people of Estill County that not only me but state and other agencies are concerned about them. I think sometimes those in more rural communities think other parts of the state get more concern and people working for them," explained Rep. Howard.

The bill aiming to update regulations, making modifications to ensure something like this does not happen again in Kentucky.

"Right now it seems like we are the convenient place to dump, because all of the other three states involved have more rigorous protocols in place," said Tom Fitzgerald, with the Kentucky Resources Council.

Some lawmakers did voice concerns over adding regulations for the oil and gas industry.

"We are looking at a very metered way to make sure we do not over regulate but that we don't under regulate. We do not want to encourage other people to bring in waste that shouldn't go to our landfills," responded Fitzgerald.

The bill received overwhelming support with the committee deciding to pass it on to the full house. Rep. Howard says the committee's response sends an important message for not only people of Estill County but the entire state.

"A variety of people make up the committee; you have some that are perceived as pro-environment and some that are pro-business ... but what I saw was that everyone is pro-Kentucky and the citizens who live here," explained Rep. Howard.