Letter: Radioactive oil waste disposal rules too lax – Billings Gazette, May 20, 2017

June 16, 2017

Categories: Agriculture, Clean Water, Letters, News, Oil and gas

I’m writing to thank Seth Newton of Glendive for his April 30 guest editorial titled, “No rules at Montana’s radioactive dump,” and to echo his call for better landowner and water protections around radioactive oil waste disposal in our state.

Like Newton, my family ranches right next to Oaks Disposal. Oaks is the first and, so far, only radioactive oil waste disposal facility in Montana. Located 26 miles northwest of Glendive, the facility was permitted and opened in 2013. Since that time, much of the oil waste generated in North Dakota has been sent to Oaks — including waste deemed too hot for North Dakota landfills (“Gibson Energy, at its WISCO landfill near Williston, agreed to remove 18 yards of illegal waste and ship it to Oaks Disposal,” The Bismarck Tribune, Aug. 31, 2016).

We live with this waste stream, and we fear its potential consequences. Trucks entering the Oaks Disposal facility drive directly through our property. They carry waste 15 feet from our barn door and 75 feet from our home. We’ve seen frequent spills, untarped trucks, erratic drivers and rain events heavy enough to make the facility’s detention pond overflow.

My family lives, works and pays taxes in Montana. We deserve the same amount of respect and protections as North Dakota’s oil and gas generators — if not more. It’s time for the state to stand with Eastern Montana, and put some radioactive oil waste rules in writing.

Mary Kubesh


220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154