Fracking waste tanks at Hardrock excavating were implicated in confessions by employees that they were being ordered to be emptied into the Mahoning River by Ben Lupo, who has denied the allegations. Image: Cleveland.com

The Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court today against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for failing to comply with Ohio’s public records law. Six months after ODNR acknowledged receipt of the Sierra Club’s request for documents related to ODNR’s investigation into the illegal dumping of fracking waste,ODNR has yet to provide the Sierra Club with the requested public documents.

“Unfortunately, ODNR apparently still doesn’t understand that you don’t get to pick and choose when you comply with Ohio’s public records law,” said Jed Thorp, Manager of the Ohio Sierra Club. “The public has a right to know what ODNR is doing to keep fracking waste from being illegally dumped into our streams and rivers, and we shouldn’t have to file a lawsuit everytime we seek answers.”

In March of this year, the Ohio Sierra Club sent a certified mail request to ODNR for copies of documents related to ODNR’s investigation into the illegal dumping of fracking waste by D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating in Youngstown. In February of this year, ODNR revoked permits for both D&L Energy and Hardrock for their role in illegally dumping approximately 40,000 gallons of fracking waste into a storm sewer that drains to the Mahoning River.

“ODNR expects the public to trust that they’re doing a good job of regulating this industry,” said Thorp. “But, if you want to be trusted, you need to be open and transparent with the public.”

In April of last year, the Sierra Club filed a similar action against ODNR for failing to supply documents related to fracking in Ohio’s state parks.