Target: United States District Judge Donald Nugent
Goal: Applaud prison sentence for contractor who ordered employees to dispose of toxic waste in river
A contractor who ordered his employees to dump wastewater from fracking into a nearby river has been sentenced to 28 months in prison. Benedict Lupo, the 63-year-old owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, pled guilty to ordering fracking waste to be dumped into a tributary of Ohio’s Mahoning River on 33 separate occasions. He also faces a fine under the U.S. Clean Water Act of $25,000 for his illegal discharge of pollutants.
Fracking waste is made up of a saltwater brine and oil based drilling mud, a toxic substance which contains benzene, toluene, and other chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile compounds. The substance had a disastrous effect on the creek’s ecosystem, and managed to kill off even the most pollution-resistant insects and invertebrates. Now, there is no wildlife left alive in the area.
The creek’s polluted water also contaminated the Mahoning River, a source of drinking water for almost 10,000 people. Ingesting toxic compounds from fracking waste can result in sickness and death in both animals and humans.
In the past, many instances of large-scale water pollution have gone unpunished, including massive oil spills in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and the ocean southeast of Houston, Texas. Protecting waterways is imperative to the survival of humanity and the natural world, including plant and animal life. Your signature will applaud the conviction of a man who carelessly ordered toxic waste to be dumped into waterways.
Dear Mr. Donald Nugent,
Benedict Lupo was recently sentenced to 28 months in prison and fined $25,000 for ordering the dumping of fracking waste into an Ohio creek on 33 separate occasions. The waste, which is made up of harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile compounds was detrimental to the creek’s ecosystem and killed much of the area’s native wildlife. The waste also made it into Ohio’s Mahoning River, which supplies drinking water to two towns with a combined population of just under 10,000 residents.
Similar incidents in the past, such as oil spills in Nigeria and offshore waters near America, have gone unpunished. It is refreshing to see an effort by the United States legal system to seek action against those that pollute essential sources of potable water. We, the undersigned, commend your efforts to uphold the American Clean Water Act.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alan Liefting via Creative Commons