WARREN - Patriot Water Treatment and Warren have filed a complaint with Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking a judgment on which agency should regulate rules involving the processing of "fracking" water from natural gas drilling sites.
Attorney General Mike DeWine's office earlier this week ruled that permits granted to the city and Patriot Water Treatment to process brine from gas and oil wells were not issued legally.
The city's wastewater treatment plant takes pretreated water from Patriot and discharges it into the Mahoning River after further treatment.
The permits were issued by the former Ohio EPA director under then-Gov. Ted Strickland's administration.
DeWine's ruling was made as a declaration of error on behalf of the OEPA. The Environmental Review Appeals Commission is being asked to dismiss appeals by Patriot and return the permits to the state EPA director for further action.
"Based on the attorney general's and Ohio EPA's decision to ask for an administrative tribunal to revoke our permits, we had no choice but to ask our lawyers to protect our businesses and the jobs of our employees," Andy Blocksom, president of Patriot, said. "We welcome the opportunity to obtain testimony from many Ohio EPA employees under oath in deposition that were involved in our permit approval process."
In its court filings, Patriot and Warren asked the court to determine the appropriate statutory construction of applicable law given Ohio EPA's change of position almost a year after permits were issued.
"How can the state possibly believe that it can attract and maintain business with actions like these from regulatory agencies?" Tom Angelo, Warren wastewater director, said.
"Basically, the state is saying that a business should work with several agencies for several years, obtain all permits required, spend millions of dollars to open a new facility, bring jobs to the Mahoning Valley and then have the rug pulled out from under the business 10 months after the business opens based on a new interpretation of an existing law."
Both the city and Patriot said they will continue business as usual and welcome the chance to present the law and the facts to the courts.