Judge Orders $200,000 Penalty for Ashtabula County Polluter

(JEFFERSON, Ohio) — The owner of two northeast Ohio businesses that illegally burned and mishandled oil field waste has been ordered to pay a $200,000 civil penalty for polluting the environment.

“Clean land, clean water, clean air – these are things we share, and they’re protected by law,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Here’s a message for every dirty environmental player: We mean what the law says, and we’re ready to take you to court.”

Judge Thomas Harris of the Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court imposed the penalty this week on Richard Morrow, owner of RWC Properties LLC and Circle M Oilfield Transportation, located in Williamsfield.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office sued Morrow and his businesses in 2018, citing the unlawful transport, storage and open burning of oil field waste.

In 2017, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency twice reported seeing Morrow burning waste in storage tanks capable of holding up to 250 barrels of material. Since then, inspections by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have noted large areas of soil stained by waste leaking from the tanks. 

Morrow and his businesses have failed to address the violations, despite repeated orders from the Ohio EPA and ODNR to comply with the state’s environmental laws.

Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section is handling the case. Photos showing the pollution are available on the attorney general’s Twitter page.

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