An Act relating to oil and gas; concerning the prevention of pollution and protection of water quality; amending K.S.A. 55-179 and K.S.A. 1995 Supp. 55-162 and repealing the existing sections.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Kansas:
Section 1. K.S.A. 1995 Supp. 55-162 is hereby amended to read as follows: 55-162. (a) Whenever the commission, from investigation or upon written complaint filed with the commission, finds reasonable cause to believe that a person has violated any provision of this act or any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this act, the commission shall cause such person to come before it at a hearing held in accordance with the provisions of the Kansas administrative procedure act. After such hearing, if the commission finds that such person violated any provisions of this act or the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this act, the com- mission shall take any appropriate action necessary to prevent pollution and protect water quality. Such action may include, but not be limited to:
(1) Order the person to take such action necessary to remedy the violation;
(2) order the well or the lease to be shut down until the violation is corrected;
(3) order the person to pay any costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the commission in any action pursuant to this section and in any action to enforce an order entered by the commission pursuant to this section and to pay interest on any portion of such costs and attorney fees which remains unpaid more than 30 days after imposition, at the rate provided by K.S.A. 16-204 and amendments thereto and for interest on judgments;
(4) order any combination of such orders enumerated in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3); or
(5) if the commission finds that a person has not complied with an order issued under paragraph (1), (2), (3) or (4), the commission may order the suspension or revocation of any license issued pursuant to this act to such person.
(b) If it appears to the commission that damage may result if im- mediate remedial action is not taken, the commission, on the basis of emergency adjudicative proceedings, shall make such orders as provided in subsection (a), or may authorize its agents to enter upon the land where the well is located and take such remedial action necessary pending the giving of notice and hearing in accordance with the provisions of the Kansas administrative procedure act.
(c) Proceedings for reconsideration and judicial review of any order shall be conducted in the manner provided for the conduct of reconsid- eration and review proceedings under K.S.A. 55-606, and amendments thereto.
(d) Agents of the commission shall investigate any written or oral complaint within 72 hours of receipt thereof, not including Sundays and legal holidays, except that if such investigation is impracticable within such time frame, the agent shall communicate the same to the person making the complaint and make alternative arrangements for such inves- tigation.
(e) Whenever a person is in violation of subsection (a) or subsection (b) agents of the commission may enter upon the lease or any other leases under the control of such operator and seal any well operated by the offending party. Removal of the seal without commission approval will constitute a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
Sec. 2. K.S.A. 55-179 is hereby amended to read as follows: 55-179. (a) Upon receipt of any complaint filed pursuant to K.S.A. 55-178 and amendments thereto, the commission shall make an investigation for the purpose of determining whether such abandoned well is polluting or is likely to pollute any usable water strata or supply or causing the loss of usable water, or the commission may initiate such investigation on its own motion. If the commission determines:
(1) That such abandoned well is causing or likely to cause such pol- lution or loss; and
(2) (A) that no person is legally responsible for the proper
care and control of such well; or (B) that such person so legally
responsible for the care and control of such well is dead or no
longer in existence or insolvent or cannot be found, then
within 60 days after completing its investigation, and
as funds are available, the commission shall plug, replug or
repair such well, or cause it to be plugged, replugged or repaired,
in such a manner as to prevent any further pollution or danger of
pollution of any usable water strata or supply or loss of usable
water whenever practicable. The cost of such plugging shall
be paid by the commission from the conservation fee fund.
(b) For the purposes of this section, a person who is legally
respon- sible for the proper care and control of an abandoned well
shall include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:
Any operator of a waterflood or other pressure maintenance program
deemed to be causing pollution or loss of usable water; the current
or last operator of the lease upon which such well is located,
irrespective of whether such operator plugged or abandoned such
and the original operator who plugged or
abandoned such well; and any person who tampers with or removes
surface equipment or downhole equipment from the well.
(c) Whenever the commission determines that a well has been aban- doned and is causing or is likely to cause pollution of any usable water strata or supply or loss of usable water, and whenever the commission has reason to believe that a particular person is legally responsible for the proper care and control of such well, the commission shall cause such person to come before it at a hearing held in accordance with the pro- visions of the Kansas administrative procedure act to show cause why the requisite care and control has not been exercised with respect to such well. After such hearing, if the commission finds that such person is legally responsible for the proper care and control of such well and that such well is abandoned, in fact, and is causing or is likely to cause pollution of any usable water strata or supply or loss of usable water, the commission may make any order or orders prescribed in K.S.A. 55-162, and amend- ments thereto. Proceedings for reconsideration and judicial review of any of the commission's orders may be held pursuant to K.S.A. 55-606, and amendments thereto.
(d) For the purpose of this section, any well which has been aban- doned, in fact, and has not been plugged pursuant to the rules and reg- ulations in effect at the time of plugging such well shall be and is hereby deemed likely to cause pollution of any usable water strata or supply.
(e) For the purpose of this section, the person legally responsible for the proper care and control of an abandoned well shall not include the landowner or surface owner unless the landowner or surface owner has operated or produced the well, has deliberately altered or tampered with such well thereby causing the pollution or has assumed by written con- tract such responsibility.
Sec. 3. K.S.A. 55-179 and K.S.A. 1995 Supp. 55-162 are hereby re- pealed.
Sec. 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication in the statute book.
Approved April 3, 1996.