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On Earth Day, Attorney General Yost Applauds His Environmental Team’s Success Thus Far in 2024

Human hands holding earth global on blurred green nature background. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — When Ohioans think of the Attorney General’s Office, they often associate it with consumer protection, fighting human trafficking, or tackling crime. However, it also plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the state’s environment.

In celebration of Earth Day, Attorney General Dave Yost is highlighting the achievements of his Environmental Enforcement Section in 2024.

“Earth Day serves as a poignant reminder of our responsibility to preserve the planet for future generations,” Yost stated. “I commend my environmental team for their dedication to protecting Ohio’s natural resources, ensuring that our air, water, and land remain safe for all.”

During the first 3½ months of the year, the team resolved a significant construction and demolition debris case, secured jail time for two polluters, and initiated a complaint against another suspected polluter.

Here’s a summary of these cases:

On February 16, a Lucas County judge sentenced a Toledo couple to three months in jail, followed by six months at a correctional drug-treatment facility. Chad Gatter and Amanda Wagner were charged in 2023 for unlawfully transporting and dumping over 2,000 scrap tires from Toledo tire stores into their backyard without proper authorization from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). An investigation led to criminal charges after complaints from neighbors.

On March 21, Baumann’s Recycling Center agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit related to an allegedly illegal landfill operated by the company for nearly a decade. The Ohio EPA investigation found that the Garfield Heights company mishandled construction and demolition debris, operating an unlicensed landfill and creating environmental hazards.

On March 25, Yost filed a complaint against Austin Master Services, an oil and gas waste services company, for illegally storing excessive quantities of brine and drilling waste at its Martins Ferry facility. The company was accused of accumulating dangerous waste materials exceeding permit limits.

Last year on Earth Day, Yost’s environmental team launched the “Shine a Light on Dumpers” initiative to expose criminals who illegally dump solid waste. The initiative provides training, education, legal guidance, technical equipment, and investigative assistance.

Law enforcement can request investigative support for suspected illegal dumping by calling 1-800-348-3248 or emailing [email protected].