Concerned citizens request U.S. EPA to investigate ODNR - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Concerned citizens request U.S. EPA to investigate ODNR

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - About 200 concerned citizens statewide, including some from Youngstown, have sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting that they conduct a full audit and investigation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and it's underground injection well program.

The groups feel that the ODNR should be stripped of its right to have oversight and enforcement of horizontal oil and gas drilling permits.

They say Ben Lupo, the owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, continued to be granted well permits even though he had 120 violations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Lupo has recently been charged with violating the Federal Clean Water Act after illegally disposing of oilfield waste.

Susie Beiersdorfer, of FrackFree Mahoning Valley, said, "I mean this is our water, this is our land, our air. We all have an inalienable right to clean water, and clean air, and we feel that is being jeopardized by the poor oversight of the ODNR."

Bethany McCorkle, a spokesperson for ODNR, had this to say in response, "Ohio has some of the toughest Class II underground injection regulations in the country and we are confident ODNR's Underground Injection Control program is well managed and environmentally sound. We have proven that bad actors in the industry will not get away with breaking the rules and putting the health of Ohioans or the environment at risk. We are continually evaluating and updating our regulations. We are currently considering ways which would strengthen our ability to review the process for companies wanting to do business, including seeking authority to consider the past compliance history of existing Ohio companies and requiring new companies to disclose past convictions under the Clean Water Act."

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