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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost Announces Jail Time for Environmental Violators


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — The Environmental Enforcement Section of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office recently logged a pair of court victories, securing jail time for two environmental polluters in separate cases - one in southeast Ohio and the other in northeast Ohio.

“There are real consequences to breaking the law and destroying our natural resources,” Yost said. “Operators need to play by the rules so no one gets hurt.”  

Southeast Ohio

The first case involved Benjamin L. Altier, 66, of Corning, and the company he owns. He pleaded guilty to theft, a fifth-degree felony, and to improperly storing or disposing of brine, an unclassified misdemeanor. Brine is a waste byproduct consisting of water, oil and salts that is brought to the surface during the extraction of oil and gas.

Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Tina Boyer sentenced Altier to 30 days in jail, three years of community control, $5,129.16 in restitution to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and 50 hours of community service.

Additionally, Altier’s company, Altier Brothers Inc., was ordered to pay $5,000 in fines, $10,000 in restitution to Rural Action for the remediation of Sunday Creek, and was placed under one year of community control. The company must remove all brine and storage containers from its Corning property within 90 days. Altier’s company drills wells and is also a registered brine hauler and owner of oil and gas wells in the state.

Altier fabricated wastewater disposal tickets, then submitted the fraudulent tickets to ODNR, so that he was reimbursed for disposal fees that he did not pay. Instead of properly disposing of the wastewater, which he collected during the plugging of multiple orphan wells, Altier dumped some of it on land and improperly stored the rest.

The Altier investigation was conducted by Environmental Enforcement Unit of the attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by the Criminal Prosecution Unit of the AG’s Environmental Enforcement Section.

Northeast Ohio

The second case involved Joseph Senk, a 65-year-old resident of Northfield Village. Senk was found guilty of open dumping of solid wastes and illegal transportation of scrap tires, both unclassified felonies.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Senk to 90 days in jail and two years of community control, and imposed a $10,000 fine.

Senk picked up scrap tires from various businesses in the greater Cleveland area using false exemptions under Ohio law. He then hauled the scrap tires to his property, where the tire treads were cut into large pieces.

Subsequently, the tires were dumped at an unlicensed scrap tire disposal facility and in a vacant lot in Northfield. Some of the scrap tires were even dumped in a small stream, where flooding carried them 300 feet downstream.

The Senk investigation was a collaborative effort between BCI’s Environmental Enforcement Unit and the Special Investigations Unit of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The case was prosecuted by the Criminal Prosecution Unit of the Environmental Enforcement Section.

Hannah Hundley: 614-906-9113


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