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Lupo brine dumping trial set for April 8

Published: Sat, February 8, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

Clean Water Act violation alleged

By Peter H. Milliken



The jury trial of Ben Lupo and his company, Hardrock Excavating LLC, on a charge of violating the Clean Water Act in the dumping of oil-field waste into a Mahoning River tributary will begin April 8 in federal court.

A final pretrial conference for Lupo, 62, of Poland, and Hardrock will be at 10:30 a.m. March 24 before U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent.

The sentencing for Michael P. Guesman, 34, of Cortland, who pleaded guilty to that charge Aug. 29, will be at 10 a.m. March 20.

Although Lupo and Hardrock have pleaded not guilty, Guesman says in his written plea agreement that he dumped brine and drilling mud down a storm drain from 20,000-gallon storage tanks on Salt Springs Road in Youngstown at Lupo’s direction on 24 nights beginning Dec. 12, 2012.

The U.S. attorney has agreed to recommend favorable consideration for Guesman at his sentencing in exchange for his acceptance of responsibility and “substantial assistance” to the prosecution.

The investigation of the case was triggered by a Jan. 31, 2013, discharge that resulted in a massive cleanup of the unnamed tributary and of the Mahoning River, used specialized contractors and cost more than $1 million.

Judge Nugent has approved a request by Brad J. Beeson, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, for an order that D&L Energy Inc., on whose behalf Lupo agreed to pay for the cleanup, be required to produce documents concerning the cleanup cost.

Beeson said he needs these documents to prepare for the trial because they “will be evidence of the harm done to the environment.”

Penalties for those convicted of violating the Clean Water Act range from probation to three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.


1polhack(129 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Even in an industry not known for its public spirited contributions to the environment, Mr. Lupo has made a name for himself as a nest fouler. It would be unfair to paint the entire industry with Lupo's reputation. It may be safe to assume that some percentage of the land agents, drillers, frackers, pipeline builder/operators and waste disposers currently embraced in this region, will engage in activities that make Lupo look like a small timer. Proceed cautiously.

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2michael1757(402 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

I hope the verdict is enough to make this guy file bankruptcy.What he did is egregious,& direspectful to our enviroment,& he should pay.

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3DACOUNTRYBOY(669 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

While irritating this was by no means an environmental disaster. The early days of oil record much more virulent discharges with minimal environmental effect. Very miniscule in comparison to the BP well flowing out of control in the Gulf of Mexico which was caused by bureaucracy that didn't allow personel onsite to respond quickly and shut it in while the platform was intact.

The Lupo Trial will soon also be history.


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4glbtactivist(296 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Lupo intentionally dumped poisons into the drinking water of over a million people. Why is he not being tried for attempted murder. He would be tried for murder in most other countries. Why is death by businessmen not considered much of a crime in the US?

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52muchtax(694 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Lupo should be put out of business n put in jail from him polluting the river to causing small earthquakes this guy is a menace to the area and the environment! I hope they throw the book at him!

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676Ytown(1318 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Who in their wisdom put Lupo in charge of cleanup of his own mess? The EPA or OSHA should have cleaned up this environmental disaster and sent him the bill.

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7polhack(129 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

JS I see your point, but can you inform us as to the cost, installation and maintenance of composting toilets? Also, what replacement for salt can you recommend to keep us from being shut down as Atlanta recently was?

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