Hearing today on brine-hauling permit

WARREN – The owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, one of the companies at the center of allegations over the illegal discharge of oilfield waste, will get a chance today to argue why the company’s brine haulers permit should not be revoked by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

At the informal hearing in Uniontown, Ben Lupo is expected to make his case to save Hardrock’s permit to ODNR’s chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. The hearing is closed to the public.

ODNR spokeswoman Bethany McCorkle said although there is no timeline to have a decision ready, she expects one would be made ”swiftly.”

Lupo can appeal the decision to Ohio’s Oil and Gas Commission.

The state revoked the hauling permit, which allowed Hardrock to transport oilfield waste from drilling rigs to its facility, 2761 Salt Springs Road, on Feb. 6, after Hardrock employees were observed dumping waste into a storm sewer on the property that eventually led to the Mahoning River.

ODNR found Hardrock allowed another company, Mohawk Disposal Management, which has the same address as Hardrock, to transport brine under Hardrock’s registration number.

ODNR also ordered on Feb. 6 another of Lupo’s company’s, D&L Energy, to stop all injection well operations in Ohio, including revoking six injection well permits and denying three pending injection well permits. In addition, D&L was ordered to stop all temporary storage operations at the Salt Springs Road location.

Ohio law does not provide for the same type of informal hearing on these orders. Instead, the appeal is made directly to the Oil and Gas Commission. It wasn’t known Wednesday if Lupo had made the appeal, which must be done within 30 days of the order.

A message seeking comment left with Lupo was not returned.