NOTE: Updated to include responses from the Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as well as one from the state's Attorney General's office.
An Estill County citizens group is taking legal action against three state entities. The organization wants more information on the state’s response to the illegal dumping of low-level radioactive waste in the county landfill.
Concerned Citizens of Estill County is suing Kentucky’s Office of the Attorney General, the Health and Family Services Cabinet and Energy and Environment Cabinet.
CCEC has been working for the past six months with the two Cabinets to understand the state’s enforcement actions. The Attorney General’s Office cited insufficient evidence in its decision not to seek criminal charges. That’s something group member Bob Shaffer can’t understand, “We would like to see those documents and have a record of what that decision was based on.”
A spokesman in the attorney general’s office says staff will review the suit. Concerned Citizens of Estill County Attorney Mary Cromer says a court hearing probably won’t occur until early 2017.
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This statement provided to WEKU by John a Mura, Director of Communications for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Wednesday November 23, 2016:
"The Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Cabinet For Health and Family Services made public voluminous records after the Office of Attorney General concluded its investigation and lifted its moratorium on releasing records concerning the Estill County Landfill. Certain records were exempted pursuant to the Open Records law, in accordance with the AG’s opinion. Recently, at the invitation of the Concerned Citizens group, both cabinets gave a detailed, two-hour presentation on the landfill issues, followed by Q&A, at Estill County High School and continue to work to involve local interested parties in a resolution of the issue."
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Here is a statement provided to WEKU by Crystal Staley, Deputy Communications Director for the Attorney General's Office Wednesday November 23, 2016:
"The attorney general understands the anxiety felt by the families in Estill County and has asked his office to provide all nonexempt records to the citizens. In July the Office of the Attorney General concluded a four-month investigation where investigators reviewed hundreds of documents and held multiple interviews with state officials and with individuals directly involved in the disposal at the landfill and determined it could not pursue criminal charges. The office did conclude that the company’s actions violated civil law and requested authorization from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to seek civil damages. While the cabinet declined the attorney general office’s request, the cabinet is seeking civil damages on its own."