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Courts and Crime

Feds and Ohio press a criminal case against alleged drilling dumper
But the accused. Ben Lupo, pleads not guilty to ordering employees to dump the brine

Tim Rudell
The Mahoning River in Youngstown
Courtesy of Grant Engle
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In The Region:

Youngstown businessman Ben Lupo was in federal court Thursday, accused of a federal crime.  His company owns trucks that Ohio EPA agents say they caught dumping fracking waste into storm drains that lead to the Mahoning River.   WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

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Ben Lupo was formally charged with violating the federal Clean Water Act, and entered a not guilty plea. U.S. Attorney Steven Dettlebach addressed a news conference  later at an overlook on the Mahoning River near downtown Youngstown. 

“The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment and $250,000 fine. The investigation is continuing.”

At the same press conference, Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine said he plans to pursue civil penalties against Lupo, and on a per-incident basis.  He said, “The potential fine for each one of these separate violations is $2,500 to $20,000 per day.”  

The total volume of brine and drilling sludge dumped is not known yet, but estimates range from 20,000 gallons to a quarter of a million gallons. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has also revoked all permits for fracwater hauling, storage and disposal held by any companies owned by Lupo.

Related WKSU Stories

UPDATE: Criminal charges in Youngstown dumping case are expected today
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Youngstown driller charged criminally with dumping fracking waste
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Youngstown frac-dumping cleanup continues
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Youngstown's mayor says his town deserved Obama's accolades
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Q and A with the head of the Ohio EPA about Youngstown dumping
Friday, February 15, 2013

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