Day 2 of testimony in D&L Energy appeal hearing - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Day 2 of testimony in D&L Energy appeal hearing

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - It was the second and final day of testimony at the appeals hearing for D&L Energy of Youngstown.

The Salt Springs Road company tried to convince a three member panel of the Oil and Gas Commission in Columbus that D&L played no role in an illegal dumping incident.

D&L Energy is fighting to get it's operating permits back, that were permanently revoked back on February 6.  

Chief Richard Simmers of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued the order.

Two state inspectors testified that they witnessed the illegal dumping of brine and oilfield waste into a sewer drain on D&L Energy's property back on January 31st, after receiving several anonymous tips.

"The hose was connected to the tank, the 500 barrel frack tank going into the storm sewer," ODNR Inspector John Fleming said.

Steven Ochs, an underground inspector with ODNR's Division of Oil and Gas for ten years also took the witness stand.

He said shortly after he allegedly caught Hardrock Excavating employees in the act, the President of D&L Energy at the time, Ben Lupo left a message on his cell phone that said: "This is Ben Lupo, if you could return the call. I take full responsibility for what's going on."

Kurt Kollar with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says Lupo also made admissions to him, taking full responsibility for the illegal dumping and saying it's occurred at least six times.

Kollar told the Oil and Gas Commission that Lupo allegedly made a statement that could allegedly be perceived a threat.

"He told me, I'm a very powerful man. I'm even magic, so I could make you disappear. It didn't sit well with me and I did inform my superior and other officials about that statement," said Kollar.

Kollar went on to say that the first phase of the clean-up of the illegal dumping is done, but there's more work necessary. He described to the Oil and Gas Commission how even when worked tried to flush out the sewers, they started to see a solid material that physically had to be chiseled out, a drilling mud that in some cases was four inches thick.

Attorneys representing D&L Energy tell 21 News the company voluntarily offered to take care of the cleanup because they had environmental concerns just like the community.

But they contend Lupo's actions were his and his alone.

"There's absolutely nothing that D&L did at that site in respect to the brine discharge that would ever justify having it's injection well permits revoked. Those permits are totally removed, and having nothing to do with brine discharged. So that's why we're fighting here today," said Attorney Michael Cyphert who represents D&L Energy.

The three member panel of the Oil and Gas Commission will now review all of the testimony, and ultimately decide whether D&L Energy should receive its operating permits back.

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