Property owners charged with violating Clean Air Act and CERCLA, exposing residents to asbestos

12 Sep 2014 by under Legal, News

asbestos warning 100x100 Property owners charged with violating Clean Air Act and CERCLA, exposing residents to asbestosWillingly exposing residents to the dangers of asbestos has two men looking at serious jail time and fines. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), both , the owner of more than a dozen properties in Malone, N.Y., and his maintenance manager, Thomas J. McAvoy, have been sentenced to 21 months in prison for cooperatively and openly violating the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). Following their prison terms, the two men will also face two years of supervised release, while Mills will be forced to pays fines of $25,000 and a $300 crime victim special assessment fee.

The Clean Air Act provides safety standards that require the safe removal of asbestos, especially during times of renovation when asbestos fibers would be more likely to be present in the air. However, following three of Mills’ property renovations, Mills and McAvoy refused to notify the authorities of their blatant disregard for both the environment and tenants’ exposure to the harmful asbestos.

Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of a number of asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs; lung cancer; and mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that most often attacks the lining of the lungs or abdomen. When asbestos is broken or crushed, such as with a home renovation, it can release microscopic asbestos fibers that can be inhaled or ingested. Both of the men in charge of the properties’ management knew the dangers of asbestos, but conspired against the law to save time and money.

In January 2014, Mills and Allen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate CERCLA. Mills pleaded guilty to two counts of knowingly violating CERCLA by failing to report that more than a pound of asbestos was released from Mills’ properties. In addition, Allen pleaded to one count of knowingly violating CERCLA as well.

According to the plea deal, both Mills and Allen attested that they ordered an employee to remove asbestos pipe wrap, which measured more than 260 linear feet, from Mills’ properties at 458 East Main Street, 144 Elm Street, and 100 Elm Street. The asbestos-laden pipe wrap was then placed in Mills’ UHaul-style truck as well as a shed maintained by the Malone Department of Public Works in order to attempt to hide the evidence from authorities.

USDOJ reports that the investigation was performed by the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division and the New York State Department of Labor Asbestos Control Bureau, alongside the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Malone Department of Public Works and the Malone Police Department.

Source:
USDOJ

 

One Response to “Property owners charged with violating Clean Air Act and CERCLA, exposing residents to asbestos”

  1. Jamaal Al-Din

    The Clean Air Act provides safety standards that require the safe removal of asbestos, but what about alternative solutions? What are some of the alternative measures to renovation when asbestos fibers are present?