YOUNGSTOWN - The owner of Youngstown-based oil and gas waste disposal companies is facing three years in prison and $250,000 in fines after he was charged this morning with violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Ben Lupo pleaded not guilty in federal court here this morning, according to federal officials who spoke at a press conference along the banks of the Mahoning River here just moments ago.
Lupo is accused of instructing his employees to dump oilfield waste obtained from Ohio drilling operations in the immediate area into a storm drain. The waste flowed into a tributary and eventually into the Mahoning River. Cleanup efforts and the criminal investigation are continuing.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
Ben Lupo, right, leaves federal court in Youngstown this morning.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine who also appeared at the press conference credited the person who called in the illegal dumping tip and also the work of the state environmental agents that responded quickly to catch the disposal in the act.
"They nailed him," DeWine said, stressing the importance of tips. DeWine said he also will be pursuing civil penalties in coming days against Lupo and his companies.