EPA Director speaks out about shale boom - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

EPA Director speaks out about shale boom

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The illegal dumping of hazardous waste is a concern everywhere, including here in the valley.

Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency Director was in the area on Thursday and spoke with 21 News Reporter Danielle Cotterman about the steps they're taking to safeguard the shale boom.

As oil and gas drilling continues to become more prevalent in the Valley, so do the concerns associated with it.

Ohio's EPA Director, Scott Nally, says two years ago they looked at the state's rules and regulations and have been working ever since to improve on them based on the concerns of other drilling states.

"Where they started to see some of these problems, we though, 'well, let's not wait and have the problem in Ohio. Let's address it,'" says Nally.

He says between the EPA, ODNR and Heath Department, they've worked to cover all aspects of the drilling process.

One of the most prevalent is the disposal of drilling waste.

"It doesn't matter how many rules and requirements I have in place or how many law I go and seek to put in place; people tend to break the law," says Nally.

He says all the EPA can do to eliminate the illegal dumping is to be watchful and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

Unfortunately, in Ohio that means only a misdemeanor charge.

A familiar case has been an local issue recently.

The owner of Hardrock Excavating, Ben Lupo, is accused of instructing an employee to dump brine and oil field waste into a sewer on D&L property.

The state had to seek the help of federal prosecutors to classify the alleged crime as a felony.

"There is some state legislation to be able to give me that option to go either felony or misdemeanor," Nally says.

Legislation ultimately focused on protecting the public and the environment.

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