Federal Charges Placed Against KY Trucker for Hauling Radioactive Marcellus Drill Cuttings to Landfill

by Diana Gooding on July 28, 2020

Blue Ridge Landfill In Estill County KENTUCKY

Man illegally hauled radioactive waste to Kentucky landfill. Federal officials seek $127K payment and jail time

From an Article by Bill Estep, Lexington Herald – Leader, July 18, 2020

A Kentucky man has been charged with illegally shipping tons of radioactive waste to a landfill in Estill County KY that was not equipped to handle it.

A federal grand jury indicted Cory David Hoskins Thursday on five charges of mail fraud, based on checks he received through the mail as part of the alleged crime, and 22 charges of “willfully and recklessly” violating safety regulations on shipping hazardous materials in 2015.

Hoskins operated companies called Advanced TENORM and BES LLC, both based in West Liberty, in Morgan County. TENORM stands for “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material.” The material is a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to recover oil and natural gas, and is classified as hazardous because of low-level radioactivity.

Hoskins allegedly told a West Virginia company called Fairmont Brine Processing, LLC, that Advanced TENORM could safely transport, treat and dispose of sludge from its operations.

Hoskins told the West Virginia company that his company included engineers, nuclear physicists with doctorates and other experts. That was a lie, the indictment said.

Hoskins also lied and said he would haul the sludge in trucks that complied with U.S. Department of Transportation rules on transporting hazardous materials, according to the indictment.

Hoskins “did not keep the promises” he made to the West Virginia company because it would have been more expensive and time-consuming to haul the waste in compliance with federal safety rules, the indictment said.

Hoskins allegedly hired trucking companies and drivers from the Ashland area and elsewhere that didn’t have the proper certification to haul hazardous waste, and didn’t tell the drivers and carriers what they were hauling was radioactive.

He also didn’t put required notices on the trucks and shipping containers to describe the hazardous sludge. One purpose of those labels is to let police, firefighters and emergency workers know what’s in a truck in case of an accident.

Hoskins drew up shipping manifests that said the material he was having hauled was not hazardous, and misled the landfill about the waste, the indictment charged.

The Herald-Leader reported in 2017 that Hoskins arranged for the shipment of more than 1,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from West Virginia and Ohio to be dumped in landfills in Estill and Greenup counties. However, the indictment against Hoskins only mentions 22 shipments to the Estill County landfill between July 22, 2015 and Aug. 27, 2015.

The illegal diposal of the waste caused concern in Estill County — the landfill is near schools — but state officials said in 2016 that there was not an imminent health threat from the material.

The state proposed a settlement in 2018 under which the radioactive material would be left in the Blue Ridge Landfill in Estill County with a cap over it. A challenge to the plan by a citizens group is pending.

The indictment includes a request for a judgment of $127,110 against Hoskins if he is convicted, representing the amount he grossed from alleged illegal activity.

The maximum sentence on the mail-fraud charges against Hoskins would be 20 years. The charges on violating hazardous-materials safety rules are punishable by up to five years.


See also: “Disequilibrium of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in Drill Cuttings from a Horizontal Drilling Operation,” Environmental Science & Technology Letters, American Chemical Society, December 21, 2016

Report finds additional radioactive materials in gas-well drill cuttings

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