(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources today announced that the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission has ruled that D&L Energy cannot keep its injection well permits and must properly dispose stored material. The decision, issued on Friday, upheld a previous order, which D&L Energy had appealed.
“This is a significant step forward in an important case,” Attorney General DeWine said. “The Commission’s decision to deny D&L Energy’s appeal is a win for the environment and for Ohio families.”
“This ruling reinforces the efforts of Governor John Kasich, ODNR, and Attorney General DeWine to ensure that people and companies who choose to break Ohio law will be held accountable,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Ohio already has some of the toughest oil and gas regulations in the country and we will continue to work to further strengthen those laws.”
D&L Energy, based at 2761 Salt Springs Road in Youngstown, owns and operates several oil and gas production wells in Ohio. It also owns and operates a number of brine-waste injection wells. On January 31, 2013 at D&L Energy’s headquarters, brine and oil-based mud was illegally discharged into a stormwater drain that flowed to a tributary of the Mahoning River and the Mahoning River itself, which is reflected in the Commission’s ruling.
As a result, the Division of Oil and Gas issued Chief’s Order 2013-03 in February to revoke D&L Energy’s permits for injection wells, to deny three pending injection well applications, and to order the timely cessation of brine storage operations.
D&L Energy appealed the order to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission on March 4, 2013, and hearings were held in April and May. Friday’s order, which D&L Energy can appeal, found that it was lawful to revoke the permits and to order the proper disposal of stored material.
In a separate federal case, Ben Lupo — a D&L Energy shareholder and owner — was indicted for his role in the discharge. The case is pending.
Dan Tierney, Attorney General's Office: 614-466-3840
Kate Hanson, Attorney General's Office: 614-466-3840
Mark Bruce, Department of Natural Resources: 614-265-6860