Kansas Corporation Commission.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas energy regulators have given the green light for an oil company to dispose of production-related wastewater in the Flint Hills — a plan that had met with resistance from residents.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Residents of the Flint Hills on Wednesday took a fight against an oil company to Kansas energy regulators as part of their broader battle to stem wastewater disposal in the area.

They fear that a request from Quail Oil and Gas to jettison up to 5,000 barrels a day of brine near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve brings a risk for earthquakes or contamination of local groundwater — claims that the company disputes. 

The chairman of the Kansas Corporation Commission, Mark Sievers, has announced he will resign. Sievers has chaired the regulatory board since 2011. The organization has recently been involved in some controversies.

The KCC regulates utilities like electricity and gas, as well as motor carries and oil wells. Last month, a Shawnee County judge fined the organization for violating the state's open meetings act.

The Kansas Corporation Commission and an agency representing utility customers have been butting heads over comments made by a KCC commissioner.

The disagreement is over what the commissioner said about how the KCC decides rate increases for utility customers. In a recent filing, KCC Chair Mark Sievers endorsed a process that uses a formula to decide future rate increases.

The more common process is where advocates for utility customers and the utility make arguments before the KCC and then the KCC decides on the amount of the increase.

Kansas Gas Service Rate Hike Called Fair

Dec 10, 2012

The Citizens' Utility Ratepayers Board, a consumer advocacy agency for utility customers, says the agreement recently reached on a Kansas Gas Service rate hike was a fair one.