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Ohio lawmaker proposes stricter penalties for improper disposal of drilling wastewater

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A state senator wants increased penalties and stiffer permit rules for improperly disposing of gas-drilling waste and toxic brine in Ohio.

Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni's (shuh-VOHN'-ees) legislation would raise the state's penalties for knowingly disposing of oil and gas waste illegally to levels found in the federal Clean Water Act.

The Boardman Democrat says violators could face a felony. They could be fined between $10,000 and $50,000, be imprisoned for three years, or face both penalties for their first offense. Potential fines and prison sentences increase for subsequent offenses.

The proposal comes after a former owner of a Youngstown-based wastewater company pleaded guilty last year to violating the federal Clean Water Act in the dumping of thousands of gallons of fracking wastewater into a northeast Ohio storm sewer.

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