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Youngstown driller charged criminally with dumping fracking waste
The Clean Water charge is believed to be the first involving fracking

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M.L. Schultze
D&L is the dominant among the roughly 20 companies Ben Lupo runs.
Courtesy of M.L. Schultze
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In The Region:

A Youngstown oil and gas driller is believed to be the first person charged in the state with environmental crimes tied to hydraulic fracturing.  WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the criminal and civil claims that Ben Lupo violated the federal Clean Water Act.

Schultze: A single count against Lupo

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Federal and state investigators used the backdrop of the Mahoning River to announce the charge against Ben Lupo, the owner of D&L Energy, Hardrock Excavating and other companies that do oil and gas drilling, and store the chemical-laden brine waste water from that drilling.

It’s the latter that got Lupo in trouble, when an anonymous tipster told state investigators on Jan. 31 that the waste water was being dumped down a storm sewer on the D&L property in northwest Youngstown.

Investigators took photos of the dumping, stopped it and the EPA and contractors have been recovering tens of thousands of gallons of water and oily solids since

Lupo offered no defense when he was in court today, but the EPA says he has said he thought he was acting property. State EPA Director Scott Nally doesn’t buy it, noting that Lupo has been in the drilling business for more than 20 years.

“There is no way he could have even thought for a second that that would have been an appropriate means of disposal.”

A federal grand jury is  expected to consider additional charges, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says he is preparing a civil lawsuit against Lupo as well. Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has permanently revoked all of the operating permits for D&L and Hardrock.

Listener Comments:

Not for a second could he have thought there was an appropriate means of disposal huh well apparently he thought there was or he just didn't care that there wasn't.

Posted by: Willow Stick ( on February 15, 2013 7:02AM
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