D&L Energy owner returns to federal court - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

D&L Energy owner returns to federal court

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A U.S. Senator is weighing in on that illegal dumping of drilling waste that happened in Youngstown last month.

The Pennsylvania senator wants to know why the incident wasn't reported to his state's Environmental Protection Agency, since it could have potentially affected the state's drinking water.

This question surfaces on the same day those accused of the illegal dumping faced a judge in Youngstown Federal Court.

D&L Energy Owner, Ben Lupo had nothing to say to news reporters after entering a not guilty plea to one count of violating the federal Clean Water Act.

Lupo has been indicted by a federal grand jury along with one of his employees from Hardrock Excavating, Michael Guesman of Cortland.

Investigators say Lupo instructed Guesman to illegally discharge the brine and oilfield waste down a sewer drain.

Those pollutants made their way into the Mahoning River and led to a massive clean-up. Lupo's Attorney Joe Gardner says this is a complicated case, but they are preparing for trial.

"There's two sides to every story, and there's two sides to this. So stay tuned," Attorney Gardner says.

As Lupo also appeals the state's decision to permanently revoke his operating permits for D&L Energy, U.S. Senator Ben Casey of Pennsylvania is questioning the National Resource Center's notification procedures, saying Pennsylvania authorities were never notified about the incident that impacted a portion of the Mahoning River.

The river flows into Pennsylvania and becomes a drinking water source for some just across the Ohio line.

Senator Casey has sent a letter to the National Resource Center and is quoted as saying, "Quick and timely notification is essential to protecting public health. In this instance, the National Response Center's efforts to notify agencies did not make it to the right people."

From what we have learned, no drinking water source has been jeopardized. A National Response Center representative says they have not yet received the letter from Senator Casey, so they are reserving comment for now.

Meanwhile, some are questioning the activity they see at the D&L property on Salt Springs Road, because D&L's operating permits have been revoked. There are other companies unrelated to the illegal dumping incident, that still operate legally on the property.

Lupo and Guesman face three years in prison if convicted of the federal charge. They also face fines ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.

The company Hardrock Excavating is also charged in the case.

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