Oil well operators in Hart County indicted

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Violations of Safe Drinking Water Act alleged

A federal grand jury in Bowling Green returned a six count indictment last week, against Charles L. Stinson of Horse Cave, and Ralph Dowell of Edmonton, on charges of conspiracy to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to David J. Hale U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.  

The indictment alleges that about March 13, 2008, to about June 29, 2010, in Hart County, Stinson and Dowell conspired with each other and others to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act by configuring piping to inject produced brine water (fluids brought to the surface in connection with oil production) from the tank battery to sinkholes and injecting produced brine water into sinkholes.

The Indictment details that Stinson and Dowell, and the corporation Logsdon Valley Oil Company, Inc., improperly conveyed and injected produced water into sinkholes in Hart County on March 13, 2008, Dec. 10, 2009, May 24, 2010, and  June 29, 2010.

Federal Regulations provided that "no owner or operator shall construct, operate, maintain, convert, plug, abandon, or conduct any other injection activity in a manner which allows the movement of fluid containing any contaminant into underground sources of drinking water, if the presence of that contaminant may cause a violation of any primary drinking water regulation under 40 CFR part 142 or may otherwise adversely affect the health of persons.”

In the event of a conviction, the maximum potential penalties for Stinson and Dowell are 20 years in prison, a $1,500,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of 3 years. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Judd, and it was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Criminal Investigations Division.

Stinson and Dowell are scheduled to appear for arraignment before the U.S. Magistrate Judge at 10 a.m. March 28 in Bowling Green.

The indictment of a person by a grand jury is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.