Ohio looks to increase penalties for illegal dumping of fracking waste

by Marc kovac | Capital Bureau Chief Published:

Columbus -- State lawmakers plan to introduce legislation to increase criminal penalties against individuals and companies that illegally dump oilfield waste.

Sens. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, and Frank LaRose, R-Akron, plan to offer the law changes, including a requirement that the state revoke existing permits and deny future ones for those convicted of the crime.

Rep. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, is considering comparable legislation in the Ohio House, and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine has said he is supportive of such efforts.

The legislation comes in response to an incident in Mahoning County involving the illegal dumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of drilling waste into a storm sewer.

Earlier this month, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced the permanent revocation of permits of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, and the company owner is facing federal criminal charges.

Both DeWine and Gov. John Kasich said earlier this week that the state may need to change its laws to better deal with such egregious illegal dumping incidents.

Under current law, perpetrators face misdemeanor charges. Under the bill proposed by Schiavoni and LaRose, they would face felony charges, with the potential for three or more years in prison and fines of $10,000-plus.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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