YOUNGSTOWN -- State Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a news conference this afternoon on the banks of the Mahoning River that his office will be filing a civil suit within days against Ben Lupo.
DeWine was speaking along with U.S. Attorney For The Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettlebach just hours after Lupo was arraigned in federal court on a single count of illegally dumping into a U.S. waterway.
He is free on $50,000 unsecured bond and waived his preliminary hearing, which means his case will be bound over to a federal grand jury.
Tribune Chronicle / Joe Gorman
State and federal officials held a news conference in Youngstown today just hours after Ben Lupo was arraigned in federal court on a single count of illegally dumping into a U.S. waterway.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with an informal "show cause" hearing in Uniontown to give the company an opportunity to explain why its permits should be reinstated. The ODNR revoked operating permits last week because Lupo admitted to telling workers to illegally dump oil and drilling mud into a storm sewer on his Salt Springs Road property.
Lupo was led into court this morning in handcuffs by a special agent for the Ohio EPA. He is represented by attorneys Joseph Gardner and Leonard Schiavone. He turned himself.
Also at the news conference were representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies, Dettelbach, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains and ODNR Director Jim Zehringer.
Clean Water Act violation penalties include a $50,000 fine per day the violation occurs and three years in federal prison if convicted. If Lupo is convicted of violating state dumping laws, the maximum penalty is six months in jail and a fine of $10,000 on a first office and up to two years in prison and a fine of $20,000 on each subsequent offense.
Investigators had received a tip Jan. 31 that the company was dumping illegally at its Salt Springs Road complex.
Since then various agencies have been trying to clean the spill in tributaries that flow into the river.
DeWine, along with Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, called for tougher drilling regulations at the press conference as well.