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Hagan criticizes two state agencies over dumping cleanup



Published: Wed, February 13, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

State Rep. Robert F. Hagan criticized two state agencies for failing to provide accurate information about a cleanup they are overseeing connected to the dumping of about 252,000 gallons of drilling waste into a city storm drain.

Hagan, of Youngstown, D-58th, wrote letters Tuesday to the directors of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency. The “lack of forthrightness” from the two “is severely distressing and a shameful disservice to the public for whom both agencies were established to protect,” he wrote.

But Chris Abbruzzese, OEPA spokesman, said his agency and ODNR are “in the middle of a criminal investigation. One item we’re trying to determine is how much was dumped.”

Abbruzzese, who said he also was speaking on behalf of ODNR, said the agencies take “this incident very seriously. We’re not going to allow flagrant violators of Ohio laws to continue in these endeavours. We’re not going to talk about a criminal case. I would not put a number on it.”

But others have.

Shortly after employees of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating dumped drilling waste Jan. 31 at the direction of company owner Ben W. Lupo, Lupo included in a report that the amount was as much as 20,000 gallons.

Last week, city Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr. said Kurt Kollar, on-scene coordinator for the OEPA’s Division of Emergency and Remedial Response, told him the amount was about 40,000 to 50,000 gallons.

On Wednesday, Kollar told reporters that Lupo admitted a day or two after the Jan. 31 dumping that he had ordered employees to dump at least five other times since September 2012.

Each of those six times Lupo had employees empty two 21,000-gallon tanks of brine material and oil-based mud into the city’s storm-drain system on the company’s Salt Springs Road property, Kollar said. That’s 252,000 gallons of waste dumped.

“That’s what [Lupo’s] indicating,” Kollar said.

Hagan said James Zehringer, ODNR director, told him last week that the 40,000-to-50,000-gallon figure “was inaccurate and too high.”

Also Tuesday, Hagan introduced two bills. The first would provide local governments the authority to enact and enforce health and safety standards for oil and gas drilling and exploration.

The second would establish ODNR as a central authority for fracking-related chemical information that could be shared with local first responders reacting to a chemical spill or dump.


Comments

1grazor50(72 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Just what the people need, politicians like HAGAN trying to have authority to regulate anything. He screams fracking at an injection well problem, and he claims he knows the amount of waste being dumped when the investigators studying the site have not come up with the total figures yet. The pollution limits that the gov set up, water PH is an illegal dump if it comes straight out of the water tap that we all drink, and is put into a stream, not knowing the contaminants that were found so far, how could any determination be conclusive until the study is complete? But our local politicians are screaming for action, the problem is being worked on, try getting anything,, anywhere being completed with the government involved and you will see what " slow as a snails pace " really means!

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2ytownsteelman(659 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

The system is working well. The authorities are all doing their jobs in a professional manner, but Hagan is bound and determined to make some sort of issue out of this so he can get on his soapbox and shout. Hagan is the only one acting in an unprofessional manner, and pulling two bills out of nowhere without doing any thought is classic legislative malpractice.

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3Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Great job Hagan. ODNR was not accurate not by a long shot. Your representing the public interest thus far .One of the above posters said that Lupo was a "bit player ". 250,000 gallons now and 120 other violations?

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4walter_sobchak(2116 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

Buckwheat Bob merely sees the parade of people and he wants to be in front of it. He will firat complain that the ODNR and OEPAare lax, incompetent or insufficiently staffed to keep track of this industry. Now, when the agencies do their job as outlined by Ohio revised Code, he complains that they are not acting fast enough or keeping citizens in the dark. It seems to me that the leaders of these agencies are doing a good job of cleaning up this dumping while also building a criminal case against Lupo. But, it is important that the ODNR and OEPA follow the law so that he can be brought to justice. He is still presumed innocent and the forms he signed clearly state that his signature only means that he received the forms but does not necessarily indicate guilt.

Now Buckwheat wants to add two new rules that don't seem to be advisable. The drilling operations and chemicals used need to be controlled on the state level where experts can devise a system to regulate these operators. The citizens don't need every local govt enacting their own regulations. A common sense idea would be to establish some type of paper trail for the volume of brine, mud, and fracking flowback, how it is handled, and to where it is shipped and disposed. I mean, we have our 1000 gal septic system holding tank pumped twice a year and we get a receipt of the volume of sewage and the treatment plant it is disposed. Maybe such a system already exists and Lupo has found a way around it.

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5DSquared(1479 comments)posted 2 years, 3 months ago

In no way defending Lupo, but in all honesty this kind of stuff isn't new. Our rivers have been used as toilets for decades and decades. Now all of a sudden local politicians have suddenly grown a conscience. 50+ years of steel industry pollution=no problem. Couple years of fracking=bubbling death from hell! WTF? Hagan not getting his envelope?

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