State commission denies D&L Energy’s appeal

Staff report


The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission has denied D&L Energy’s appeal that asked the independent body of review to temporarily reinstate its operating permits.

After an incident Jan. 31 in which D&L’s sister company Hardrock Excavating was found by state and federal regulators to have dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of oilfield waste — including oil and brine water — into the Mahoning River, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources revoked both companies’ operating permits.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission, which hears complaints against decisions made by ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, denied D&L’s motion to reverse that decision in an order issued Thursday.

D&L claimed it could not be held responsible for Hardrock’s decision, even though both companies were owned by Ben W. Lupo at the time, who was later charged with violating the Clean Water Act for his role in the dumping incident.

A formal hearing on the permit revocation is scheduled for May 22 and 23 before the commission to permanently decide the fate of D&L’s operating permits.

The company operated six injection wells, which are used to dispose of fracking water deep underground.

D&L is heavily indebted and facing litigation on multiple fronts along with Lupo.

It requested a temporary suspension of ODNR’s decision so it could generate more revenue until the formal hearing next month.

Lawyers for D&L argued its case before the commission’s members Monday.

Two seats are empty on the five-member commission, leaving three to decide that counsel for D&L failed in its arguments to temporarily lift ODNR’s decision.

In its order, the commission wrote that “D&L failed to demonstrate compelling grounds to support a stay of execution.”

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