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State accuses Youngstown companies of polluting Mahoning River
Ohio EPA is conducting a criminal investigation into companies' owner

Grant Engle
The citation issued by the Ohio EPA.
Courtesy of Ohio EPA
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In The Region:

A Youngstown company says it may appeal the state’s decision to stop it from handling any of the wastewater left over from the drilling process called fracking.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced today that it is revoking permits for D&L Energy and HardRock Excavating to haul the waste and bury it in the companies’ deep disposal wells.

The state says the companies have been dumping the wastewater into a sewer drain that emptied into the Mahoning River. Both Youngstown-based companies are owned by Ben Lupo.

Rep. Bob Hagan is urging the Mahoning County prosecutor, the Youngstown chief of police and the Ohio Attorney General’s office to arrest Lupo for allegedly polluting the river.

Rep. Bob Hagan says Lupo has "thumbed his nose" at state law

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“He’s the same individual that thumbs his nose at the environment, thumbs his nose at the state law, thumbs his nose at elected officials and basically turned his back on his responsibility of being an operator that does it cleanly.”

The ODNR received an anonymous tip Jan. 30 that D&L Energy was illegally disposing of the brine and oil mix. 

The investigation by the ODNR and Ohio EPA yielded photos of a HardRock truck dumping diluted wastewater into a drain that emptied into the Mahoning River on Jan. 31. Chris Abruzzese, a spokesman for the EPA, says a criminal investigation is ongoing.

Chris Abruzzese says the EPA is conducting a criminal investigation
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“We take our enforcement responsibility very seriously, and we’re going to pursue flagrant violators of the law in Ohio to the fullest extent possible.”


The Ohio Oil and Gas Association released a statement saying it agrees with the ODNR ruling. The group also says that the actions of one individual or company should not diminish the reputation of injection well operators. 

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