Ben Lupo and employee indicted by federal grand jury - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Updated

Ben Lupo and employee indicted by federal grand jury

Posted: Updated:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A federal grand jury has now indicted Ben Lupo, the owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, LLC in Youngstown.

One of Lupo's employees is also charged with a federal crime after a brine-dumping incident on January 31st where the water that was laced with several chemicals and pollutants made its way into the Mahoning River.

Sixty-two-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, his employee, 34-year-old Michael Guesman of Cortland, as well as Lupo's company Hardrock Excavating, LLC, all face one criminal charge of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

A federal grand jury out of Cleveland issued the charges Thursday afternoon.

The indictment comes after federal and state investigators with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources say that Lupo instructed Guesman to illegally discharge thousands of gallons of brine and oil-based drilling mud into a storm water drain at his Salt Springs Road facility.

It's alleged that Lupo told Guesman to illegally disposed of the liquid waste after dark, and when no one else was around.

The brine and oilfield waste that was laced with several chemicals and pollutants made its way into a portion of the Mahoning River, and led to a massive clean-up that is still on-going after nearly four weeks.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says, "We will continue to assist in the federal prosecution of this case but we will also pursue with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources any other violations of Ohio's environmental protection laws. This case is a reminder that we should look at making state law equal to federal law when it comes to protecting our waterways."

Lupo's operating permits for D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, LLC have been permanently revoked. Lupo was arrested in relation to the incident on February 14th.

If convicted, Lupo and Guesman both face three years in prison and a fine of $50,000 or more. The company could face a fine of $50,000 per day of violation or $500,000, whichever is larger.

On a related note, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ruled late Tuesday that Lupo has so far failed to prove that he didn't violate state regulations and Hardrock Excavating's permit to transport brine waste is revoked.

Lupo allegedly was allowing another company he owns, known as Mohawk Disposal Management, to use Hardrock's brine hauling permits. By law, the permits and certification are not transferrable.

Lupo, however, can still appeal.

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • Ohio offers extra hunting days for mourning doves

    Ohio offers extra hunting days for mourning doves

    Sunday, July 27 2014 1:45 PM EDT2014-07-27 17:45:29 GMT
    Ohio will allow extra days for hunting mourning doves this year.More >>
    Ohio will allow extra days for hunting mourning doves this year.
    More >>
  • Ohio authorities say 2 killed in small plane crash

    Ohio authorities say 2 killed in small plane crash

    Sunday, July 27 2014 1:38 PM EDT2014-07-27 17:38:30 GMT
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio say two people have been killed in an overnight small plane crash. The Hancock County sheriff's office says the crash apparently occurred at about 1 a.m. EDT Sunday. Investigators were still at the scene Sunday and little other information was available immediately. The plane crashed near a county road just northeast of the city of Findlay. The city has a small general aviation airport, but authorities were still investigating where the plan...More >>
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio say two people have been killed in an overnight small plane crash. The Hancock County sheriff's office says the crash apparently occurred at about 1 a.m. EDT Sunday. Investigators were still at the scene Sunday and little other information was available immediately. The plane crashed near a county road just northeast of the city of Findlay. The city has a small general aviation airport, but authorities were still investigating where the plan...More >>
  • Cincinnati man wins grueling, 135-mile foot race

    Cincinnati man wins grueling, 135-mile foot race

    A Cincinnati man has won what is widely considered the most grueling race in all of running.More >>
    A Cincinnati man has won what is widely considered the most grueling race in all of running.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms