Home » State fuel lab shutdown complete, equipment to be auctioned

State fuel lab shutdown complete, equipment to be auctioned

Cox to re-enter retirement

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 16, 2013) — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture will continue to use a private laboratory for its motor fuel quality testing services and has requested a date to auction off testing equipment from the department’s Frankfort fuel lab, according to Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

The $3.1 million worth of equipment purchased by the previous administration will be auctioned by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet’s surplus property division.

“This was the most cost-effective path for the taxpayers,” Comer said. “The shutdown of the fuel lab was a laborious and complex task, and I am grateful to the leadership of Larry Cox in guiding this project to conclusion.”

The Fuel Lab Task Force appointed by Comer recommended the shutdown of the lab. Cox, executive director of the KDA’s Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection, negotiated with Core Laboratories of Deer Park, Texas, to perform fuel quality testing for the department. With the completion of this project, Cox, who was appointed deputy commissioner last month, will re-enter retirement to his hay farming operation in Hart County effective June 15. Benson Bell, a division director under Cox, will take over as executive director of Consumer and Environmental Protection. Comer has no immediate plans to fill the deputy commissioner position.

The fuel lab was funded during the previous administration, which said it would generate revenue. A 2012 audit requested by Comer revealed the lab was hemorrhaging $900,000 per year. Core Laboratories is providing the service at a cost of $330,000 per year. With additional savings in personnel and benefits, the department’s actions will save taxpayers more than $600,000 per year.