Valley senator highlights loophole in Ohio law on illegal dumpin - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley senator highlights loophole in Ohio law on illegal dumping

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A local lawmaker wants to put some teeth into Ohio law when it comes to illegal dumping in the state.

When Poland businessman Ben Lupo admitted instructing two of his Hardrock employees to dump oilfield waste down a Youngstown Storm sewer that fed into the Mahoning River, local authorities wanted to make sure the punishment fit the crime, but state law didn't have the teeth to have an impact.

"They tried him in Federal Court because there were stiffer penalties in Federal court. If he was tried in state court today for what he did, the max that he would be able to get is six months in jail and a $10,000 fine. That's not even close to what is needed and fair in cases like this," said Joe Schiavoni, D-Senator.

Soon after the dumping, Senator Schiavoni introduced a bill that has now been included as part of a bigger environment protections proposal. The proposal would put state laws in-line with federal laws.

For a first offense, the law would increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. It would also call for up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

"We're not talking about somebody that negligently made a mistake. We're not talking about somebody that negligently left a cap off a tractor-trailer, and some fluid leaked out as it was going down the road. We're talking about someone who instructed his employees to go ahead and get rid of this by any means necessary," said Schiavoni.

The proposal would also prevent someone convicted of illegally dumping from receiving any further permits.

Ben Lupo was sentenced to 28 months in jail on Tuesday in Cleveland.


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