Hart County Oil Well Operators Sentenced

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Charles L. Stinson, 75, of Horse Cave, and Ralph Dowell, 75, of Edmonton, operators of Logsdon Valley Oil Co. Inc., were sentenced to two years probation.

Stinson and Logsdon Valley Oil Co. Inc., were ordered to pay fines for the continued conspiracy to inject fluids, without a permit, into sinkholes and wells, located in Hart County, from March 13, 2008 through July 18, 2012, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

According to the plea agreement, Stinson and Logsdon Valley Oil Co. Inc., agreed to a fine of $45,000 to be paid at sentencing. Also, as part of the terms, Stinson agreed to provide adequate documentation to EPA that the Stinson #6 (the well used for illegal injection) is plugged and abandoned in such a manner, that protects underground sources of drinking water from contamination.

Stinson and Dowell were charged in an eight count federal Superseding Indictment, on August 15, 2012, with conspiring to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act. They pleaded guilty to violating a requirement of an applicable underground injection control program.

In furtherance of the conspiracy, on May 24, 2010, the defendants improperly conveyed fluids into a sinkhole at the Carter-Cheney (McGee) lease; and on May 24, 2010, they improperly conveyed fluids into sinkholes on Payton #7 East lease, both located in Hart County.

"The defendants ignored orders to stop discharging hazardous waste water into a nearby sinkhole, thereby threatening groundwater quality by allowing harmful materials to enter below-ground aquifers," said Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Kentucky. "Today's sentencing demonstrates that EPA and its partner agencies will actively pursue those who flout environmental laws designed to protect the public."

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Judd, and was investigated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency/Criminal Investigations Division and the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection.

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