UPDATED: ODNR revokes permits from Hardrock Excavating, D&L Ene - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

UPDATED: ODNR revokes permits from Hardrock Excavating, D&L Energy


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Major developments in the illegal dumping incident involving thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a storm drain on Salt Springs Road.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has set precedent and is determined to send a strong message after permanently revoking the operating permits for D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating.

Contractors for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources returned to the Mahoning River and the scene of the alleged illegal dumping with vacuum trucks to try and get any remnants of residual waste.

All this as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed that on Wednesday they permanently revoked the operating permits of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating.

Both Youngstown businesses operate at the Salt Springs property where the alleged illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of oil, brine and oil field waste allegedly occurred six days ago.

State Representative Bob Hagan applauds the decision and has demanded the arrest of the company's owner, Ben Lupo.

Hagan says there are still questions that need to be answered.

"I think it's significant. I think that's what we should have done. It's now six days and we're still not clear about how many gallons have been released into the river and we're not clear about those chemicals. I do know that the U.S. Attorney's Office is also looking into violations of the Clean Water Act," Hagan said.

The D&L Energy Group responded by saying they are currently reviewing the actions taken by ODNR relative to the company's operating permits and intends to respond and perhaps appeal.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says they have not heard anything about an appeal.

"The letter that was issued to him [Ben Lupo] says he has 24 hours to contact us for an informal show cause hearing. That hearing would be with the chief of the division of oil and gas which is part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources," said Bethany McCorkle with the ODNR.

Permanently revoking the permits means that D&L and Hardrock have had to cease all well operations. All six well permits have been revoked and three others denied. The companies will also have to cease storage on Salt Springs Road. Their permit to haul brine has also been revoked.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General is tasked with a civil investigation into the case and state and criminal investigations are being handled by the Ohio and U.S. EPA.

The penalties could include tens of thousands in fines and prison time.

"The state of Ohio is not messing around and they shouldn't. Because this is way too important to have somebody try to cut corners to save a few bucks and ruin this for everybody," said State Senator Joe Schiavoni.

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