D&L Energy in Columbus fighting to get operating permits back - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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D&L Energy in Columbus fighting to get operating permits back

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - D &L Energy is in a fight to get its operating permits back, and the company tried to make it's case before a hearing of the Oil & Gas Commission in Columbus.

A three member panel of the Oil & Gas Commission is hearing D & L Energy's appeal.

It was back on February 6th when the Youngstown company had its operating permits permanently revoked.

Investigators with the Environmental Protection Agency say they witnessed brine and oilfield waste being illegally discharged into a sewer drain on D & L's Salt Springs Road property.

The waste made its way into a portion of the Mahoning River and led to a massive cleanup.

Richard Simmers, the Chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is the man who revoked D & L's permits in the first place, and he defended his decision.

"A lot of people looked at large parts of the data collected. I was advised and I concluded that D & L had been party to the activity that we had witnessed," said Simmers.

Simmers says brine was also accepted from an unlicensed hauler, in violation of state regulations.

But attorneys for D & L Energy say the company should not be punished for the alleged actions of the former President, Ben Lupo.

They contend he was acting on behalf of one of his other companies, Hardrock Excavating, when the alleged illegal disposal occurred. ... And Cleveland Attorney Michael Cyphert says Lupo often did things that other shareholders did not agree with.

"He's been in court proceedings before regarding these companies, and there's been a disagreement among the shareholders about how the companies are proceeding, the financial matters... you name it," said Attorney Cyphert.

Lupo who was not at the hearing has since stepped down from his role at D & L Energy after he and a Hardrock employee were charged with violating the Federal Clean Water Act. They've both entered not guilty pleas.

Nick Paparodis, the current CEO and President of D&L Energy Group says while the company is not responsible for the disposal incident, they DID immediately take responsibility for the cleanup. He says they were just as concerned about the environment.

The Oil & Gas Commission will meet again on Thursday to determine if D & L Energy should get it's operating permits back.

More witnesses are expected to testify including a supervisor with the Environmental Protection Agency who oversaw the clean-up.

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