On Monday, industry offered an amendment that would immediately preempt all local ordinances on any aspect of the industry, from exploration to transmission, and would require that the Department for Mines and Minerals adopt regulations on gathering lines within 6 months of the effective date of the Act (nine months from enactment). There would be no deadline for adoption of state regulations on any other aspect of the oil and gas industry.
KRC rejected the proposal, on behalf of the organizations and Fiscal Courts opposing the bill, because it would leave Letcher County and all other counties vulnerable to abusive industry practices for up to 9 months in the case of gathering lines, and indefinitely in all other cases.
KRC offered a proposal to amend existing law to extend the current reclamation plan requirement for wells to include gathering lines, but industry rejected that proposal, as they had previously before the initial House vote on HB 458.
The fate of HB 458, the oil and gas industry's effort to preempt local control over industry abuse, is in the hands of House Floor Leader Greg Stumbo and the other Democratic House Leaders: Richards, Barrows, Larry Clark and Jim Callahan. The Senate is carrying water for the industry on this bill, and if there is to be an amendment to clean up the language of the bill and to require that before preemption occurs an effective state program is in place, it will come only because of the refusal by Rep. Stumbo and other House leaders to pass a bill as lopsided and unfair to the public as HB 458 remains.
Please send a fax to Rep. Stumbo at 502-564-0588, thank him for holding the bill and ask him to kill HB 458 unless industry agrees to incorporate the Leeper Amendment (six months deadline, and no preemption until the state program is adopted) or the amendment proposed by KRC to immediately begin regulating gathering lines under KRS 353.5901 and limiting local preemption to gathering lines regulation only.