Ky. Energy Cabinet sues church after spotting illegal oil drilling on TV show

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The state's Energy and Environment Cabinet has filed a lawsuit against a local church after the cabinet became aware through a television show that the church was improperly drilling for oil on its property.

The cabinet learned in April on an episode of the Discovery channel's "Backyard Oil" that the Evangel World Prayer Center on Minors Lane had drilled two wells for oil exploration without filing proper applications.

The episode, called "Kentucky Fried Church," prompted an investigation by the cabinet, which told the church to have the wells plugged, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 31 in Jefferson Circuit Court.

On Sept. 12, according to the suit, Evangel told the Cabinet it was soliciting bids for contracts to plug the "illegally drilled" wells but it was not taken care of.

The cabinet issued a notice of violation for each well for drilling without a permit and filed the suit asking a judge to order Evangel to immediately plug the wells.

The lawsuit also requests a judge to order Evangel to pay a fine of $4,000 for the continuing violation.  

Claims made in filing a lawsuit present only one side of the case.

A phone call left for the church pastor, Bob Rodgers, was not immediately returned.

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