Ohio EPA director wants more bite in the state - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio EPA director wants more bite in the state

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - Local leaders have a better idea of how the emerging oil and gas industry is being regulated after a panel discussion Monday morning that featured the director of the the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

A proposed law to increase criminal penalties for illegal dumping in the state was among the topics of discussion after state officials had to turn over a Youngstown dumping case in which a company was caught dumping drilling waste into the Mahoning River.

"Right now, if it's something that's really egregious, my only option is to have it federally lead," says Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally. "Then it takes me out of the driver seat and puts me in the back of the bus. I'd rather be at the front of the bus and have that option."

If the proposed law becomes reality, violators could face a felony charge that carries a minimum sentence of three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, something the state would like to have the option to pursue.

The proposed law would also require the state to revoke and deny future permits to any individual or company found guilty of illegal dumping.

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