News/Press

Published on Thursday, April 19, 2007

ASBESTOS — IT’S STILL A PROBLEM

By Leah Beth Ward Yakima Herald-Republic

SELAH — Deborah and Scott Hanna were doing what lots of people do in the spring: They began a home-improvement project and started with a bedroom ceiling.

Ugh. “It was so dirty,” Deborah Hanna said. “So we tore it down.” Big mistake. The “popcorn” ceiling dating from 1977 was full of asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that separates into very thin but strong fibers. As a heat and corrosion-resistant material, asbestos was the darling of the building industry for decades until its sinister side was discovered. The fibers pose a danger when they become airborne and lodge in the lungs. Over time, exposure can lead to asbestosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that can make breathing difficult. Another risk is mesothelioma, cancer that occurs in the lining around many internal organs. Local contracting and cleanup experts say they run across asbestos routinely in home and commercial remodeling projects, even though its use in textured paint and patching compounds was banned in 1977. “We see it quite a bit,” said Joe Walkenhauer, a longtime Yakima contractor who is semiretired from Sun Professional Services, which cleans up asbestos. “The popcorn ceiling is one people should stay away from,” he said, referring to a technique popular in the ‘70s of texturing with a lumpy, asbestos-rich spray. Asbestos is often thought to be a problem of the past, something the federal government took care of decades ago.

But that’s a misconception, according to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who has spent six years pushing for an all-out ban on the product. It continues to be legally used in certain industrial and consumer products, such as brake pads, which can pose a hazard to mechanics. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency tried to ban asbestos, but some of those regulations were overturned in a 1991 court ruling.

Last month, Murray reintroduced her Ban Asbestos in America Act of 2007, which would prohibit the manufacture, importation, processing and distribution of products containing the product. While exposure at work -- pipefitting, ship-building -- is most common, Murray said in a statement that homeowners doing renovation projects aren’t immune. As many as 35 million homes and businesses may have insulation made with harmful minerals, according to her office.

The Hannas didn’t know what they had as they scraped their ceiling with putty knives. It might have been OK if they had wetted down the ceiling first, which would have kept the fibers from flying loose. “But I thought it was just like taking down wallpaper,” Deborah Hanna said. Then one day she was talking about the project with colleagues at lunch -- she’s a nurse -- when someone suggested the crumbling material might be asbestos.

A laboratory confirmed the material was asbestos, forcing the Hannas and their four kids to live with relatives. “We had done everything you weren’t supposed to,” she says now. “We vacuumed, kept the vents open from the heater, had kids in the house.”

Hanna feels reasonably sure that her family didn’t inhale enough of the fibers to cause immediate problems. But she was surprised to discover in casual conversations that many people with popcorn ceilings don’t know they likely contain asbestos.

This week, IRS Environmental of TriCities began cleaning up the Hanna home. After more than a month in temporary quarters, they’re anxious to move back in.

But even when the cleanup is finished, the Hannas still have to take everything they own out of the house and clean or dispose of it. Their insurance company won’t cover the cost of more than $3,000, saying they caused the problem. Hanna could have kept quiet about her home’s exposure to asbestos fibers. Many homeowners getting ready to sell aren’t so honest, according to Walkenhauer. “The law says if you know you have it, you have to disclose it. But most people who know they’ve got it won’t tell anybody,” he said. Still, Hanna wants to keep other do-it-yourselfers safe. “I’m the kind of person that I have to tell people about this,” she said.

* Leah Beth Ward can be reached at 577-7626 or lward@yakimaherald.com.

About Asbestos

* You can’t tell whether a material contains asbestos by looking at it unless it’s labeled.

* If in doubt, treat it as asbestos and have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional.

* Individual homeowners who want to clean up their own asbestos are exempt from state training and certification requirements, but must comply with proper disposal practices. For more information, contact the Yakima Regional Clean Air Authority in Room 1016 at 6 S. Second St., Yakima. Call 834-2050 or fax 834-2060.

Sep 08,2006

DEQ Fines Bend Companies for Asbestos Mismanagement

by Bend Weekly News Sources

Companies appeal penalties

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a $7,200 penalty to WHM Enterprises, LLC, of Bend, the owner of a 10-unit apartment complex, for allowing unlicensed persons to perform an asbestos abatement project on property it owns at 502-508 S.W. Evergreen in Redmond. In a related action, DEQ has issued an $8,400 penalty to Potter Construction Inc., Bend, the company hired by WHM to renovate the apartment complex, for conducting an asbestos abatement project without being licensed as an asbestos abatement contractor.

Oregon requires training and licensing for those who perform friable asbestos abatement projects. Facility owners may allow only Oregon-licensed asbestos abatement contractors to perform asbestos abatement. Potter Construction is not licensed to conduct such projects.

During an inspection of the complex on Nov. 25, 2005, a DEQ air quality specialist identified possible asbestos-containing building materials that Potter Construction employees were removing. Laboratory analysis of samples taken by DEQ revealed that the popcorn ceiling texture contained 3% chrysotile asbestos, while vermiculite insulation contained 1.2% actinolite/tremolite asbestos.

Asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other respiratory diseases; they also are a hazardous air contaminant for which there is no known safe level of exposure. To protect human health and the environment, state and federal laws set strict requirements on the removal, handling and disposal of material containing more than 1 percent asbestos.

As the Potter Construction employees removed the friable asbestos-containing popcorn ceiling texture and vermiculite insulation, they disposed of it in the facility’s outdoor dumpsters. This activity caused the open accumulation of asbestos- waste material, which occurs when asbestos-containing material is broken or shattered and not properly packaged to prevent it from exposure to the elements. As a result, it is likely that asbestos fibers were released into the air, exposing workers, the public and the environment to asbestos. Additionally, a licensed asbestos abatement contractor would have wet the asbestos during removal to prevent emissions of asbestos fibers into the air.

On Dec. 12, 2005, an asbestos abatement contractor completed cleanup of the site. The cleanup cost can be higher when an abatement contractor must properly abate asbestos-containing materials subsequent to interior demolition.

Both businesses have appealed their penalties.

From Greenwich Time in Connecticut

Antares Real Estate has agreed to halt renovation work at two apartment buildings after questions were raised about whether workers thoroughly checked for asbestos prior to construction, state health officials said.

“In light of those questions, renovation activities at the facility have been stopped and we are awaiting additional information about the potential presence of asbestos,” said Ron Skomro, supervisor of the asbestos program at the state Department of Public Health.

Antares spokesman Frank Marino said the Greenwich development firm believes it followed regulations governing testing for asbestos at Greenwich Place and Greenwich Oaks, formerly known as Putnam Green and Weaver’s Hill. But to clear up any doubts, the firm is cooperating with health officials and has voluntarily agreed to halt renovation until additional testing is completed, Marino said.

“Prior to the start of construction, Antares followed industry standards and used independent laboratories to test for any hazardous content,” he said.

“They had checked everything they were going to disturb in a major way, and obviously there are some that believe there is more that should be done. ... Rather than get into a dispute on was it enough or wasn’t it enough, we’re just doing the additional testing just to be safe,” Marino said.

Health officials arrived for a site visit last Thursday to investigate a complaint that flooring tiles in the complexes contained asbestos, and that renovation work might release the toxins into the air. Asbestos causes cancer.

“The older the property, the likelihood increases that there may be asbestos present in the flooring material,” Skomro said.

Asbestos is sometimes used to build certain tiles and adhesives, but it is not considered to be toxic unless the tile is broken into pieces, such as through demolition or some types of renovation work. Prior to starting their project, Antares was required to inspect the site and determine whether asbestos presented a danger.

“There’s some indication that some prior effort was done to identify asbestos material and we’re trying to identify whether those were sufficiently thorough,” Skomro said.

Antares has hired a new environmental consultant and laboratory to run several additional tests, including on 60 samples of stucco taken from the exterior of the buildings, Marino said.

“It is not considered an asbestos-latent product,” he said, adding that the results of other tests are not yet ready.

Antares’ consultant is reviewing the different units throughout the two complexes. Some apartments appear to have undergone renovation by previous property owners, while others haven’t had work done to them in decades and so could have asbestos-containing materials. The testing could take two weeks to complete.

“At this point in time, our consultant has not raised any flags,” Marino said.

11/1/2006

Lung Cancer
Protect Against Mesothelioma by Avoiding Asbestos

Author: Jimmy Atkinson

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the body’s mesothelial cells around the organs. The mesothelium provides a protective membranous lining for the internal organs and allows moving organs (i.e. the heart and the lungs) to glide easily against adjacent structures. The names of the three regions of mesothelial cells that provide protective coating are 1) pleura, the sac which surrounds the lungs; 2) peritoneum, the lining which protects the abdominal cavity; and 3) pericardium, the sac which surrounds the heart. Three different types of mesothelioma cancer attack these three different regions.

Pleural mesothelioma: A type of lung cancer which attacks the pleura surrounding the lungs, this is the most common type of mesothelioma, affecting approximately two-thirds of all mesothelioma patients. Symptoms include horseness, fever, blood in sputum, swollen arms and face, coughing, loss of weight, difficulty breathing, chest pain, weak muscles, and reduced tactile sensitivity.

Peritoneal mesothelioma: A cancer of the abdomen which attacks the peritoneum lining the abdominal cavity. This affects approximately one-third of all mesothelioma patients. Symptoms include abdominal bloating, impaired bowl function, fever, swollen feet, and nausea.

Pericardial mesothelioma: This form of mesothelioma which attacks the pericardium surrounding the heart is extremely rare. Symptoms include chest pain, dyspnea, cough, and palpitations.

Mesothelioma has been linked to asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a type of building material used in thermal insulation products and ceiling tiles. In the United States, asbestos usage peaked during the 1950s - 1970s. During the late 1960s, concerns over the health consequences of asbestos exposure began to arise, thereby decreasing the amount of asbestos manufactured in next two decades. By the 1980s, a new industry of asbestos abatement began to flourish. But according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as many as 733,000 schools and public buildings still contain asbestos.

Small asbestos fibers that enter the air do not evaporate and can remain suspended in the air for a long time. These fibers, when breathed into the body, are toxic. There are three types of asbestos exposure.

Occupational asbestos exposure: People working in factories that manufacure asbestos are likely to have a high exposure to asbestos and are most at risk of developing asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Paraoccupational asbestos exposure: Family members of workers exposed to asbestos in the workplace are susceptible to exposure from asbestos dust brought home by the worker on his clothes or skin.

Neighborhood asbestos exposure: Those who live in the vicinity of an asbestos manufacturing plant are also at risk.

Mesothelioma is still a relatively rare form of cancer. There are an estimated 2,000 - 3,000 new cases per year in the United States. Approximately 7-13 per one million male patients with a history of asbestos exposure contract mesothelioma. Diagnosis usually occurs 20-40 years after initial exposure to asbestos.

California Asbestos Removal Companies

Asbestos removal is the process of ridding a building or material of the asbestos that it may have been originally built with. Abatement companies all over California are busy with asbestos removal, in part due to the influx of asbestos litigation and mesothelioma lawsuits. Asbestos removal by a professional abatement company is only a fraction of the cost of a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Asbestos litigation can cost a company millions while asbestos removal only costs a few thousand dollars by comparison. Granted, large companies may have to spend more than a drop in the bucket to an abatement company for adequate asbestos removal, but it is still only a drop in the bucket when compared to the cost of a mesothelioma lawsuit, not to mention the human cost.

Companies of the seventies and earlier were permitted to build their buildings with large amounts of asbestos in order to protect them from the potential of fire damage. Companies and buildings created post 1980 were subject to different laws and were permitted what was then considered minimal amounts of asbestos in their production. Unfortunately, asbestos was still used in the automotive industry, construction companies, and a few other companies during this time.

Even older homes and office buildings were built using asbestos. Asbestos removal has become increasingly important as it is not so difficult to trace back one case of mesothelioma to a company, which means there is likely to be more asbestos litigation on the way. An abatement company can have the toxic material removed from the building in a very short period of time and workers can return to their employment with a renewed sense of safety.

Ironically, companies have become less devoted to their employee safety over the past 20 years. Abatement companies were much busier with jobs concerning asbestos removal with companies voicing concern for workforce safety ten years ago than they are today.

High turnover and the potential to leave a job and create a cheaper workforce are all reasons cited for this, but asbestos removal is appropriate regardless of the turnover rate or employee dissention. Asbestos litigation can occur regardless of whether the employee worked for the company all their life or only worked there just long enough to get sick.

Asbestos removal is a company’s best chance at avoiding costly asbestos litigation and defending themselves in a mesothelioma lawsuit. A mesothelioma lawsuit can cost a company upwards of ten million dollars by the time damages are awarded and court and attorney fees are factored in. Asbestos removal by a certified abatement company is really much cheaper.

While mesothelioma may take decades to surface after an employee has gone off to other employment or retired, many companies are finding that the damages awarded in a mesothelioma lawsuit are considerable less if they have gone through an abatement company and requested asbestos removal.

By following through with asbestos removal, juries do notice that there is obvious concern for employee health at a later time and do take that into consideration. Most companies who are involved in asbestos litigation are under new management or ownership by the time asbestos litigation is filed, and the public appreciates a minimal effort of asbestos removal.

Of course, this changes nothing for a mesothelioma victim, and asbestos litigation is still necessary in order to attain the financial means needed to fight for their lives. Doing something is still better than doing nothing.

Mesothelioma lawsuits and asbestos litigation are in effect helping to prevent asbestos related diseases as companies who follow through with asbestos removal are effectively removing the danger for future and present employees. This means that there is a chance that mesothelioma victims are helping to save lives by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.

At least, it is considered hopeful that their fight will save a few lives down the road. Nobody can be certain of this, but asbestos removal, even if prompted by a legal case, is always the best preventative measure against mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a terrible disease that attacks thousands of victims every year and is only caused by exposure to asbestos, a toxic chemical that can be removed from a building by an abatement company. It is unfortunate that it has cost so many lives and so much time tied up in asbestos litigation to encourage asbestos removal by companies who knowingly are exposing their workforce to this deadly and dangerous toxin. The effects of asbestos have been understood since the 1920’s. With that knowledge, abatement companies should no longer have asbestos removal jobs to take on.

About the Author

Tim Dillard has worked with some of the largest law firms in America. Dillard is currently the host of Tops In Texas, (http://www.topsintexas.com) and president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.

From LA Times 10/2/06

ARCHITECT’S VIEWPOINT
History of a ‘miraculous mineral’

Asbestos was used in scores of home materials during the 20th century, but there was a cost.

By Arrol Gellner, Inman News
October 1, 2006

Over a century ago, American builders began using a remarkable mineral product. Being mined from a type of serpentine rock, it was natural, abundant and easy to produce, yet its unique properties made it almost limitlessly useful.

It was resistant to chemicals and intense heat. It was an excellent electrical and thermal insulator. Out of its fibers, you could weave a cloth that wouldn’t burn. You could even mix it with other materials to make them stronger and more fireproof.

Over the course of the 20th century, American industry — with the government’s blessing — found thousands of uses for this miraculous mineral.

Woven into a cloth, it was used to insulate electrical wires. Mixed with a binder, it made a fireproof insulation for pipes and ducts. Mixed with cement, it made a host of practically indestructible building materials such as corrugated siding, shingles and flue pipe. Mixed with vinyl, it made an incredibly durable floor tile.

Nor was its usefulness limited to construction. This same amazing mineral allowed the brakes on cars to survive blistering temperatures. Inside the home, it could be found in stoves, heaters, ovens, toasters, hair dryers and ironing board covers — pretty much any product that had to resist high heat. Some older examples of these items, such as furnaces, are still silently doing their jobs.

The miraculous mineral is asbestos, a substance whose modern reputation is considerably more sinister than when it was found in countless industrial products. Long- term occupational exposure to asbestos is now known to cause a number of terrible lung diseases. The risk of exposure to the amounts of asbestos found in a typical older home is less clear, but on the premise of being better safe than sorry, asbestos is no longer manufactured in the U.S.

Nevertheless, since it was used in thousands of long-lived domestic products, and because its peak period of use stretched from World War II well into the 1970s — in fact, the last U.S. asbestos mine closed in 2002 — its complete removal from the environment is nearly impossible.

Millions of older American homes contain significant amounts of asbestos, found mostly in the form of insulation on steam pipes or heating ducts, in resilient floor tiles, acoustic ceiling tiles and sprayed acoustic ceilings, and in asbestos-cement shingles, building panels and flue pipes.

Although removal was once widely considered the preferred remedy, today many authorities believe that the safest approach is to leave asbestos-containing building materials in place so long as they’re in good condition and not subject to disturbance. For the official policy in your own area, contact your local hazardous materials authority.

So it is that, after a century of vast commercial use, the miraculous mineral has now become the malevolent mineral. If there’s a lesson here, perhaps it’s that sometimes things that seem too good to be true are.

More Than a Dozen Defendants Plead Guilty to Violating Asbestos Rules;
One Indicted for Numerous Allegations of Wrong-Doing

Release date: 02/24/2000

(#00034) Albany, New York -- Daniel J. French, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York and Jeanne M. Fox, Regional Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, announced today the criminal convictions by guilty pleas of twelve individuals and two corporations in seven separate cases relating to widespread asbestos violations occurring throughout central and upstate New York. In addition, Mr. French and Ms. Fox announced the Indictment of a fifteenth defendant for money laundering and clean air act violations.

Criminal investigations of the asbestos abatement industry by the United States throughout central and upstate New York have revealed widespread non-compliance with asbestos laws at virtually every level, including illegal asbestos abatement; false laboratory analysis; improper/fraudulent compliance monitoring; and falsified asbestos abatement training. The United States has identified in excess of two hundred (200) buildings at which illegal asbestos activities have occurred. In addition to these two hundred, hundreds of additional buildings are anticipated to be identified in the near future.

Investigations into illegal asbestos activities are ongoing, and the government anticipates that additional prosecutions will be forthcoming. The investigation to date has revealed significant violations in every major metropolitan area with the Northern District of New York including Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Syracuse, Utica, Watertown, Auburn and Binghamton.

United States Attorney French stated, “The breadth and scope of these crimes are startling and illustrates the basest form of greed. Over and over again, these defendants willingly put the public at risk to line their own pockets. They will now face the consequences of their horribly irresponsible acts.”

“By thumbing their noses at the Clean Air Act, these defendants put workers and others in harms way,” said Jeanne M. Fox. “There is a reason for restrictions on asbestos removals----asbestos is a dangerous substance if it is mishandled. Make no mistake, where protecting human health and the environment are concerned, the federal government does not fool around. These pleas and indictments prove that environmental criminals will pay dearly for dodging the law.”

THE THORN INDICTMENT

On February 16, 2000, a Grand Jury sitting in Syracuse, N.Y. returned an Indictment charging JOSEPH “JAY” THORN, 408 Washington Ave., Rensselaer, N. Y., former owner of A+ Environmental Services, Inc. of Rensselaer, N. Y., with widespread illegal asbestos activities and related money laundering. Specifically, THORN was charged with supervising activities relating to dozens of illegal asbestos abatement projects in the central/upstate New York area. The activities included falsifying and obtaining falsified test results for asbestos removal projects at elementary schools, nursing homes, State Police barracks, and the New York State Legislative Building, among up to 130 other illegal projects. The Indictment charges that, in numerous instances, THORN violated the Clean Air Act by illegally removing the asbestos in a manner not permitted by law. In other instances, he obtained falsified laboratory results purportly to demonstrate that he had successfully finished a project when he had not, so as to make it appear to a broad range of clients that he had, in fact, complied with all Federal, State and local laws. He repeatedly falsified Medical Surveillance Certificates to document medical clearance for workers to participate on asbestos projects when no such clearances had actually been obtained. THORN is charged with laundering in excess of $870,000 connected with the illegal asbestos projects. If convicted, THORN could receive a maximum possible sentence sixty-five years in jail and a fine of in excess of six million two hundred thousand ($6,200,000.00) dollars.

EMPLOYEES OF ANALYTICAL LABORATORIES OF ALBANY, INC.

Analytical Laboratories of Albany, Inc. (hereinafter ALA), 31 Railroad Ave., Albany, N. Y., is an asbestos laboratory that analyzes samples from abatement projects and monitors for compliance the work being done by the abatement company. Laboratories performing analyses or monitoring compliance are required by law to be wholly independent of the asbestos abatement firms performing the asbestos removal.

ERIC FARBENT, 248 Meadlowlark Drive, Chief Executive Officer of ALA, PHILIPE GOYEAU, 26 Greenridge Drive, Clifton Park, N. Y., former ALA Executive Director, ALISON GARDNER, 713 County Route 351, Medusa, N. Y., ALA Laboratory Directory and BRADFORD HALL, 1 Rose Lane, Rensselaer, NY, ALA Project Manager, plead guilty today to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and to commit mail fraud. In their pleas of guilty these four individuals acknowledged that for years, their purportedly independent laboratory had been secretly and illegally owned in part by the owner of AAR Contractors, Inc.. AAR Contractors is one of the largest asbestos abatement companies in New York State. At the direction of AAR and ALA owners, ALA employees falsified for years the air monitoring and laboratory analysis on AAR projects and failed to properly monitor projects for compliance with asbestos laws. Farbent and Hall acknowledged that they and other ALA employees personally participated in “after hours” illegal abatement for AAR. Further, Hall admitted to engaging in “bid rigging” to aid AAR in obtaining contracts for asbestos work that might have gone to other competitors. (Note - AAR is under criminal investigation but has not been charged with criminal activity at this time. AAR is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.)

FARBENT, GOYEAU, GARDNER and HALL each face maximum possible sentences of five years in jail and a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00). Sentencing has been set for July 24, 2000 before the Hon. Howard G. Munson in Albany, NY.

FISHER ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES AND “THE LAB”

DANIEL FISHER, 403 Michigan Ave., Schenectady, N.Y., President of Fisher Environmental Services, Inc., 2940 Curry Road, Schenectady, N. Y., and WILLIAM CHRISTENSON, 15 Salem Drive, Saratoga Springs, N. Y., owner of “The Lab”, located at 6 Brookman Avenue, Delmar, NY, pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and to commit mail fraud. For four years DANIEL FISHER operated Fisher Environmental Services, Inc., an air monitoring company. Also, under the assumed name “Robert Rivers”, FISHER secretly owned and operated “Empire Remediation”, an asbestos abatement company. Empire Remediation worked on many of the same projects as Fisher Environmental despite not being allowed by law to do so because of the requirement that monitoring companies be independent from abatement companies. Fisher Environmental regularly falsified samples or failed outright to take samples at Empire projects, and otherwise failed to comply with the Clean Air Act requirements for the proper removal of asbestos. FISHER obtained from WILLIAM CHRISTENSON and his company, “The Lab,” hundreds of false air monitoring reports. Fisher Environmental sent some of those false lab results to other asbestos abatement companies (including A+ Environmental Services and JAY THORN) for use in their efforts to falsely and fraudulently document proper asbestos abatement at projects for which they violated Federal, State and local laws.

FISHER and CHRISTENSON each face maximum sentences of five years in jail and a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar fine. Sentencing has been set by the Hon. Howard G. Munson for July 25, 2000 in Albany, NY.

OWNERS OF ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS (ESS)

JAMES D. MILLER, 27 Webster Street, Fort Plain, N. Y., Director of Environmental Support Systems and PRESTON YOUNG, 11 Limerick Drive, Albany, N. Y., Assistant Director, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. From 1996-1998, ILLER and YOUNG operated an asbestos training academy and provided hundreds of false asbestos training certifications to numerous asbestos workers who did not receive required training. Many of these workers thereafter worked on asbestos abatement projects, notwithstanding their lack of sufficient training to ensure proper removal and knowledge of basic safety precautions necessary to protect their health and those of individuals who came into contact with the asbestos at various projects.

MILLER and YOUNG each face a maximum possible sentence of five years in jail and a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar ($250,000.00) fine. Sentencing has been set by the Hon. Howard G. Munson for July 25, 2000 in Albany, NY.

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS RELATED TO PHANTOM ESS TRAINING

In crimes related to the pleas of MILLER AND YOUNG, in October, 1999 EDWARD JUBIC, KEVIN LATANT, KENNETH NUSCA, LAWRENCE ST. ANDREWS, III, CHARLES JUBREY, JOHN MANTYNEN, ANTHONY PRIORE AND FRANK COSTELLO were sentenced after pleading guilty to violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (and/or conspiracy) for fraudulently obtaining asbestos handlers or supervisors certificates after falsely claiming to have received required training from Environmental Support Systems.

NORTHERN ENVIROMENTAL SERVICES, INC.

JOHN PHELPS, 35, 247 Pangborn Road, Hastings, N.Y., THOMAS STRONG, 35, 5994 Jerusalem Drive, Cicero, N. Y., and NORTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC., with offices at 6838 Ellicott Drive, East Syracuse, N. Y., operate a large asbestos abatement company in the upstate New York area. At the direction supervisors, NES employees illegally removed, transported and disposed of asbestos from numerous buildings in the central and upstate area. Phelps pled guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. THOMAS STRONG pled guilty as an accessory after the fact to PHELPS’ illegal conduct by helping him to hide such activities from Environmental Protection Agency criminal investigators at the Lamson Building in Syracuse, New York. NORTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. was indicted and pled guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.

Previously, on March 9, 1999, SEAN HALLORAN, 106 Bristol Place, Syracuse, NY, Project Manager for NORTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, pled guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. HALLORAN admitted to illegal asbestos removal without proper containment, respirators, warning signs or disposal at the Lamson Building in Syracuse, NY. HALLORAN intentionally misrepresented to EPA Special Agents and a Department of Labor inspector that a “hot zone” (an area from which asbestos was actively being removed) was inactive. Through this misrepresentation the agents and inspector entered the hot zone area without respirators or protection of any sort. No date for sentencing has yet been set. PHELPS and HALLORAN face a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a two hundred and fifty thousand ($250,000.00) fine. STRONG faces a maximum possible penalty of two and one half years in prison and a one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollar fine ($125,000.00). NORTHERN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC., faces a maximum possible fine of Five Hundred Thousand ($500,000.00). Sentencing has been set before the Hon. Howard G. Munson for July 19, 2000 in Syracuse, NY.

PAUL MANCUSO, OWNER OF AR DIGIMA

PAUL MANCUSO, 35, 1005 Jefferson Avenue, Utica, N. Y., pled guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act relating to the illegal removal, storage, and disposal of friable asbestos on a large asbestos abatement project, the former Woolworth Building, in Binghamton, N.Y. The defendant further admitted that he sought and obtained false air monitoring tests. MANCUSO is the owner and Operations Manager of A. R. Digima, an asbestos abatement company located in Utica, N.Y. MANCUSO faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in jail and a two hundred and fifty thousand ($250,000.00) fine. Sentencing has been set for July 19, 2000 in Syracuse, NY before the Hon. Howard G. Munson.

LAKEWOOD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC

LAKEWOOD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC, Utica, N.Y., pled guilty to illegal asbestos removal in violation of the Clean Air Act. The company is involved in the renovation of a historic hotel (the Hotel Utica). LAKEWOOD CONTRUCTION COMPANY engaged in illegal removal and disposal of large quantities of asbestos while renovating this facility. LAKEWOOD CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, LLC was today sentenced to pay a penalty of $75,000 by the Hon. Howard G. Munson, in Albany, NY.

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS ABATEMENT

Previous convictions related to this ongoing investigation include:

STEVEN HUNTER, 42, 276 Wheat Street, Cayuga, New York, owner of Hunter Heating, Plumbing, and Contracting, was convicted after trial of six separate Clean Air Act felonies related to the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos at the Masonic Temple in Auburn, N.Y. HUNTER will be sentenced this Spring. The evidence established that, in addition to committing multiple Clean Air act violations, he knowingly and intentionally exposed his workers to very significant amounts of asbestos dust for several months during the removal of boilers and pipes. The evidence further established that, at least with regard to several of the workers, the defendant never told them the insulation material they were handling daily was asbestos. These workers are currently undergoing medical tests to establish a health baseline in the event of future cancer or asbestosis. HUNTER faces a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison and a fine of one million five hundred thousand ($1,500,000.00) dollars. Sentencing has been set for May 12, 2000, by the Hon. Howard G. Munson. TERENCE CONKLIN, Cape Coral, Florida, was sentenced on April 23, 1999 to ten (10) months in jail following his conviction upon a guilty plea to illegally removing asbestos from a Binghamton Office Building without complying with any Clean Air provision. He buried some of the asbestos in the building basement and abandoned other asbestos outside of the building without any containment or other precautions.

THE INVESTIGATION

Investigation of the cases set forth above were conducted by law enforcement officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Service, the New York State Office of Inspector General, the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division and asbestos Inspectors from the New York State Departments of Labor and Health Asbestos Control Bureau. Prosecution of these cases is being handled by Craig A. Benedict, Assistant U.S. Attorney. Mr. Benedict may be reached at 315-448-0672 with any questions.

FOR RELEASE: MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1994

THREE PLEAD GUILTY TO CLEAN AIR ACT VIOLATIONS DOING ASBESTOS DEMOLITION WORK AT ARKANSAS PLANT

On Nov. 14, William S. Dorst, Harold M. Humble, and Audie G. Harris pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas to violations of the Clean Air Act. Charges by EPA against the three men stemmed from their involvement in asbestos demolition work that occurred between August 1989 and Dec. 5, 1989 at the MacMillan Petroleum Refinery located at Norphlet, Ark. The men face sentences of up to one year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000 for their misdemeanor pleas.

Sentencing should occur within 60 days of entry of the pleas. William Dorst was vice president of Nor-Ark Industrial Corp., which was formed for the purpose of purchasing from the bankruptcy estate and then demolishing and scrapping the former MacMillan Refinery. Nor-Ark purchased the refinery in early 1989 and sold the scrapping rights to much of the facility to HBH Enterprises, Inc. (HBH), also doing business as East Texas Scrap Processors (ETSP), on Aug. 3, 1989. Harold Humble was the on-site supervisor for Nor-Ark and as such Nor-Ark’s highest ranking employee at the MacMillan site, overseeing all demolition activity including the demolition work performed by HBH. Audie Harris was the HBH foreman during the MacMillan scrapping activities. Most of the metal structures demolished at the facility were covered with friable asbestos insulation material. All three men are charged as operators of a stationary source containing at least 260 linear feet of friable asbestos material on pipes and with 160 linear square feet on other facility components. The three were charged with knowingly demolishing that stationary source in violation of the asbestos emission standards and with knowingly causing asbestos to be emitted from that stationary source.

FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 19, 1999

BROOKLYN MAN AND COMPANY PLEAD TO ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

Salvatore Napalitano and his company, ECCO Construction Inc., both of Brooklyn, N.Y., pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in New Haven to violating the Clean Air Act. Documents submitted at the time of the plea agreement indicated that Napalitano and ECCO conspired with others to illegally use unskilled workers to avoid the cost of proper asbestos abatement at a former YMCA building in New Haven in 1997. When sentenced, Napalitano faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. ECCO faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and is being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Date sent: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 12:33:55 -0500 (EST)

ILLINOIS MAN PLEADS TO ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 19, 1999

Wade J. Bertelsen of Milan, Ill., pleaded guilty on Feb. 10, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in Rock Island, Ill., to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to follow required procedures for the removal of asbestos-containing material. Bertelsen admitted that he and workers he supervised willfully failed to adequately wet asbestos-containing material which was being removed from the Old LeClair Hotel in Galva, Ill. Regulations require that asbestos containing material must be wetted before it is removed so that dust containing asbestos fibers will not become airborne. Inhaling asbestos fibers is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, Bertelsen faces a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division; the Illinois Attorney General’s Office; the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency; the Illinois State Police; the Moline, Illinois Police Department; the Milan, Illinois Police Department; the Marion, Iowa Police Department; the Iowa Department of Natural Resources; and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DEC. 11, 1998

WASHINGTON MAN INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

Gary Clinch was indicted on Dec. 2, by a grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle for two felony violations of the federal Clean Air Act. It is alleged that Clinch directed the unlawful removal of approximately 6,000 square feet of asbestos-containing ceiling material at an apartment complex in Longview, Wash. It is further alleged that Clinch subsequently dumped the material in a field adjacent to the low-income housing complex, and it was discovered that children were playing in the asbestos prior to its being found by local authorities. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause a lung disease known as Aasbestosis@ as well as mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Contractors who properly removed asbestos material at another part of the complex provided Clinch with an estimate of the cost for clearing the remaining area, but Clinch declined to utilize their services. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1998

NORTH DAKOTA COMPANY AND OWNER SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS

Jerry L. Meide, owner of Meide and Son Inc., of Wahpeton, N.D., pleaded guilty to violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and was sentenced on Nov. 25 in U. S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in Fargo, N.D. Meide admitted to violating the Clean Air Act by illegally removing and disposing of asbestos-containing material in 1994 and 1995. Meide was sentenced to ten months confinement, one year supervised release and was ordered to reimburse the State of North Dakota $100,000 for the cleanup of asbestos. In addition, Meide and his company were ordered to jointly pay a fine of $100,000. Meide and Son Inc. was hired by the Urban Renewal Agency to renovate the Ben Franklin and Action Reaction Sports stores in Wahpeton, N.D. In the process, they failed to follow CAA workplace safety standards required to prevent asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. The defendants also did not notify the EPA or the North Dakota Department of Health that asbestos was being removed, failed to properly package the asbestos once it had been removed, and did not legally dispose of the asbestos. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center, the North Dakota Department of Health, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Wahpeton Police Department.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1998

HOMELESS MEN USED FOR IMPROPER ASBESTOS REMOVAL

Buddy Vernon Frazier of Chattanooga, Tenn., pleaded guilty on Oct. 21, James Edward Bragg of Chicamauga, Ga., pleaded guilty on Oct. 20, and Chance Calvin Gaines of Chattanooga, Tenn., pleaded guilty on Oct. 14, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, in Madison. They admitted to conspiring to use untrained homeless men to remove asbestos in violation of the Clean Air Act. The defendants also admitted used false social security account numbers to obtain asbestos worker certifications from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. In 1996, Gaines and Bragg recruited workers who were then transported to the Weyerhaeuser Door and Stile manufacturing building in Marshfield, Wisc., where they stripped asbestos insulation can cause a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” lung cancer, and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Frazier obtained false identification cards for men working at the Marshfield site.

When sentenced, each of the three defendants faces a maximum of up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1998

ELEVEN CHARGED WITH USING FALSE ASBESTOS CERTIFICATES

Eleven individuals have been charged in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana with violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) by using false training documents to obtain licenses as asbestos workers in Louisiana. Jose Alvarenga of Dallas, Texas; Frank Hunt of Baton Rouge, La.; Fabian Jaramillo Martinez of Houston, Texas; Andres Montes of Houston, Texas; Rodrigo Morales of Houston, Texas; Tamir Rashadeen of Milwaukee, Wis.; Jean Manford Simmons of New Orleans, La.; Sheila Webb of New Orleans, La.; and Dexter T. Wells of Slidell, La., were all charged on Oct. 22. David L. Brewster and Mark W. Young of Lake Charles, La., were charged previously. The CAA require that workers be properly trained before they are employed in activities involving the removal of asbestos. Training is required to prevent worker exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. The inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The defendants could face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1998

NINE DEFENDANTS INDICTED FOR ASBESTOS VIOLATIONS

Nine defendants were indicted in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn. on Sept. 24 for violating various federal statutes from the alleged illegal removal of asbestos material in 1977. The defendants are: Melvin Weintraub of Purchase, N.Y. and his two companies, Morelite Development and Construction Inc., and Liberty Realty Associates LLC, both of Elmsford, N.Y.; Salvitore Napalitano and his company Ecco Construction Inc., both of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Robert Welsh and his company Miller River Environmental Corp., both of South Hadley, Mass; John Dawson of New Haven, Conn.; and Dominic Onofrio of Middletown, Conn. The defendants face various federal charges arising from the alleged illegal removal of asbestos-containing material while renovating a building in New Haven in 1997. Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napolitano, Ecco and Dawson are accused of causing untrained and unprotected workers to remove asbestos from boilers, piping and floor coverings at the building in New Haven, Conn. in violation ofthe Clean Air Act. They are also charged with causing asbestos filled garbage bags to be disposed of in various locations around New Haven.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. In addition, Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napolitano, Ecco, Onofrio, Welsh and Mill River Environmental are alleged to have caused a false asbestos abatement invoice, a false transportation and disposal manifest and a false asbestos air clearance analysis to be sent to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection in October 1997. Weintraub, Morelite, Liberty, Napalitano, Ecco and Dawson are also accused of conspiracy.

If convicted on all charges, the defendants face the following maximum sentences: Weintraub and Napalitano face up to 34 years in prison and/or fines of up to $2 million.; Dawson faces up to 32 years in prison and/or fines of up to $1.75 million; Welsh and Onofrio each face up to 2 years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000; Morelite, Liberty and Ecco face fines of up to $4 million; and Mill River Environmental faces a fine of up to $500,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 1998

UTAH REFINERY MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY TO ASBESTOS CHARGES

Eugene Dalton with residences in Salt Lake City and Moab, Utah, pleaded guilty on Sept. 22, in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to follow workplace safety standards for the removal of asbestos. Dalton is the designer and operator of Book Cliffs Energy Co., a facility in Green River, Utah which refines used oil. The defendant admitted that during the summer of 1993, he failed to take proper precautions to protect workers from inhaling airborne asbestos fibers when approximately 186 cubic feet of asbestos-containing material was removed from tanks, columns, heat exchangers and other pipe assemblies that were used in the construction of his company. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. At the time of his plea, Dalton was sentenced to nine months confinement, three years supervised probation and a $2,500 fine. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center and the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1998

NORTH DAKOTA MAN AND COMPANY CHARGED WITH ASBESTOS VIOLATIONS

Jerry L. Meide, owner and operator of Meide and Son Inc., in Wahpeton, N.D., and his company were charged with violating the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA) and with conspiracy in an indictment that was unsealed on Sept. 2, in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in Bismarck. Meide is the first individual to be charged with a federal environmental crime in North Dakota. The indictment alleges that the defendants employed uncertified individuals to remove asbestos-containing material from several buildings that were undergoing renovation in Wahpeton. In addition, the employees were not provided with the proper clothing and equipment to protect them from airborne asbestos fibers. The asbestos-containing material was also allegedly disposed of in a trash dumpster. Exposure to sufficient quantities of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer of the chest cavity. If convicted on all charges, Meide faces a maximum of up to five years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $250,000 on the Clean Air Act charge plus additional penalties for the other charges. Meide and Son Inc. faces a maximum fine of up to $500,000 on the Clean Air Act charge plus additional penalties for the other offenses, if convicted on all charges. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the North Dakota Department of Health and the Wahpeton Police Department.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1998

WEST VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL COMPANY AND OWNER SENTENCED

SAK Environmental Inc. of Sistersville, W.Va., and its owner Frederick Q. Blizzard of New Martinsville, W.Va., were sentenced on Sept. 1, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Clarksburg, on charges of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. SAK and Blizzard removed asbestos without following workplace standards to prevent human exposure and dumped it to save money on environmental compliance costs during various renovation and demolition projects which they conducted in West Virginia and Ohio. Inhalation of asbestos fibers in sufficient quantities can cause lung cancer, a rare cancer of the chest cavity known as “mesothelioma” and a lung disease called “asbestosis.” Blizzard was sentenced to spend a year and a day in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release. SAK Environmental was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine and serve five years probation. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, EPA’s National Environmental Investigations Center, the EPA Region 3 Air and Superfund Program, the West Virginia Department of Health and the West Virginia State Police.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 1998

FORMER WASHINGTON SCHOOL OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH ASBESTOS VIOLATIONS

James L. Clemensen, former operator of the Agape Boarding School in Othello, Wash., was charged on July 27, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington at Yakima with violating the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. The charges allege that between April 1993 and June 1994, Clemensen and others removed asbestos- containing material from insulation on above-ground steam pipes and then buried it on school grounds. Sufficient exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer, a cancer of the chest cavity known as “mesothelioma”, and asbestosis, which is a chronic respiratory disease. Clemensen was charged with failing to inspect school buildings for the presence of asbestos-containing material, with failing to develop an asbestos management plan, and with failing to follow required response actions. Clemensen later hired an asbestos abatement contractor in 1995 to dig up the material and properly dispose of it. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Washington Department of Ecology, Criminal Investigations Unit.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1998

OREGON MAN CONVICTED OF HIRING HOMELESS MEN TO REMOVE ASBESTOS

Timothy Dean Tomlinson, co-owner of WR Engineering & Environmental, was convicted on July 17, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle of violating the Clean Air Act. In May 1997, Tomlinson employed homeless men as day laborers to remove asbestos who were not certified to remove asbestos, nor were they provided with proper safety equipment. The removal operation involved the scraping and sandblasting of asbestos from surfaces inside the building in Seattle. This resulted in high levels of asbestos contamination inside and outside the building. Inhaling asbestos fibers is a cause of a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and lung cancer in humans. Tomlinson’s company quoted the property owners a $31,000 price to remove the asbestos; however, the resulting cleanup cost them over $350,000. This case was jointly investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the EPA Region 10 Air Program, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 31, 1998

PENNSYLVANIA DEMOLITION CONTRACTOR SENTENCED FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT

Howard Parsons of Holland, Pa, was sentenced on July 21, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for his conviction on seven counts of violating the Clean Air Act. Parsons, owner of Philadelphia Construction and Equipment Inc., was hired to demolish the Old Grant Paper Co. building in Philadelphia. Parsons did not follow federal workplace standards to reduce worker exposure to airborne asbestos fibers which were found in the building. These fibers can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” Parsons also was convicted of dumping the asbestos in a minority neighborhood in Philadelphia. Parsons was ordered to spend 15 months in prison, serve 36 months of supervised release and restore homeowners property. He also was ordered to pay $42,000 in restitution to the homeowners. The case was investigated by EPA, the FBI, the city of Philadelphia and EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1998

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT CONVICTED FOR HIRING UNTRAINED TEENAGERS TO REMOVE ASBESTOS

David Farley of New Bethlehem, Pa., was convicted on July 16, by a jury in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh on one count of violating the Clean Air Act by improperly removing asbestos from the Red Bank Valley High School in New Bethlehem, Pa. Farley, who was supervisor of the Red Bank Valley Schools, hired untrained individuals, including teenagers, to remove floor tiles and glue that contained regulated asbestos-containing material (ACM) from the high school between Aug. 1, 1996 and Aug. 10, 1996. Federal workplace standards for worker protection were not followed during the removal. In addition, the ACM was improperly collected, processed, packaged and disposed of. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause people to develop a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and lung cancer. When sentenced, Farley faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Pennsylvania State Police with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MAY 22, 1998

NEW YORK MAN SENTENCED FOR EXPOSING PEOPLE TO ASBESTOS

Isaac Itzkowitz of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn on May 13, for violating the Clean Air Act. Itzkowitz was previously convicted of the illegal removal of asbestos insulation from pipes in a Brooklyn apartment building in February 1994. The defendant hired untrained workers to remove asbestos without providing them protective equipment. When the asbestos was removed, visible clouds of asbestos fibers were released, which created a direct health hazard to the workers, the building’s tenants and their children. An alert tenant videotaped the asbestos removal job, and notified the New York City Department of Sanitation Environmental Police (NYCDSEP). Repeated inhalation of asbestos particles is a known cause of lung cancer, a respiratory disease known as “asbestosis”, and a rare cancer of the chest known as “mesothelioma.” The corporation that owns the building, Landau and Eckstein, previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act in connection with this removal and agreed to pay a $75,000 fine, hire an asbestos expert to inspect all of its buildings and conduct any necessary asbestos removals in a lawful manner. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and NYCDSEP.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 1998

ALASKA COMPANY AND MANAGER PLEAD GUILTY TO ASBESTOS CHARGE

On April 6, Mountain Aviation of Sitka, Alaska, and Mark Hackett, Mountain Aviation’s Operations Manager, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in Anchorage to violating the Clean Air Act. The defendants admitted that they hired three teenagers to clean up an area where asbestos-containing material had been improperly removed. The asbestos was contained in bags which leaked asbestos dust and the teenagers were not provided with protective gear. Inhaling asbestos particles can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” In addition, the asbestos was improperly disposed of at a landfill adjacent to ballfields near the Sitka Elementary school. Mountain Aviation has agreed to pay a fine of $50,000 and has also agreed to establish a trust fund for the medical monitoring of the three teenagers. In addition, Mountain Aviation has agreed to publish a written statement concerning its offense and conviction in five Alaskan newspapers. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 1998

WASHINGTON MAN SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR WATE AND AIR VIOLATIONS

On March 31, Howard N. Angell, of Bainbridge Island, Wash., was sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle to serve two years in prison followed by an additional three years of probation. Angell previously plead guilty to violating both the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Clean Air Act (CAA). The defendant violated the CWA by illegally discharging approximately 13,000 gallons of gasoline and gasoline-contaminated wastewater into Henderson Bay, which is part of Puget Sound. Angell’s CAA conviction was the result of his directing other people to improperly remove asbestos from a building in May 1997. The building contained approximately 14,000 square feet of dry crumbly asbestos. Federal workplace standards for the safe removal of asbestos require that it be wetted before removal and that workers wear protective clothing. In this case, the asbestos was simply scraped and sandblasted from surfaces inside the building resulting in high levels of asbestos contamination both inside and outside of the building. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, the Seattle Fire Marshall and the Puget Sound Air Pollution Control Agency.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 1998

MASSACHUSETTS MAN TO BE IMPRISONED FOR ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

On April 3, Stephen P. Draper of Woburn, Mass., plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire in Concord to one count of violating the Clean Air Act for the illegal removal and disposal of asbestos. The defendant admitted his role in the illegal removal of asbestos insulation from equipment housed in the former Johns-Manville Corp. manufacturing facility in Nashua, N.H., during the fall and winter of 1992. EPA agents discovered hundreds of bags of asbestos and loose asbestos abandoned at the facility. Cleanup of the Johns-Manville site was conducted by EPA, state and local officials in 1997, and cost $20 million. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and lung cancer in humans. The plea agreement calls for Draper to serve a sentence of 14 months in prison and to pay a fine of up to $1,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Nashua, N.H. Fire Department.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 1998

ALASKAN COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

On March 25, Central Environmental Inc. (CEI), an Alaskan firm which formerly had an office in Las Vegas, Nev., plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to use work practice standards for the safe removal and disposal of asbestos. CEI was hired by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to perform an asbestos abatement and removal operation at the Landmark Hotel and Casino. Other defendants who have not yet come to trial include, Ab-Haz Environmental Inc. (Ab- Haz), an asbestos abatement consulting firm based in Nevada; Richard Lovelace, a CEI employee; Dennis Price, Ab-Haz owner; and Rocco DiPentino, an Industrial Hygienist. They were indicted for their alleged roles in the improper removal of the asbestos and for mail fraud. Under the plea agreement, CEI was placed on probation for 30 months and was ordered to pay a fine of $200,000. Trial for the other four defendants is set for April 6. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 1998

WASHINGTON DEVELOPER PLEADS GUILTY TO DIRECT TEENAGER TO ILLEGALLY REMOVE ASBESTOS

On March 30, Gundhart Fleischer plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle to two counts of violating the Clean Air Act. The offenses occurred in June and July of 1977 when asbestos-containing material was improperly removed from the Seavue Theater in Blaine, Wash. Fleischer, president of Voyager’s Landing Corp. and owner of the Seavue, obtained bids which indicated that the proper abatement of asbestos-containing material within the Seavue would cost $150,000- $200,000. Instead of paying the costs of proper asbestos removal, Fleischer failed to report the asbestos to the local air authority and hired a nineteen year-old laborer without telling him he was working with asbestos, without wetting the asbestos down to prevent it from being inhaled and without providing respiratory protection for the young worker. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” When sentenced, Fleischer faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of up to $250,000 on each count. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Washington State Department Of Ecology’s Environmental Crimes Unit.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 1998

MISSOURI ASBESTOS ABATEMENT COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO CLEAN AIR ACT VIOLATION

On March 26, Major Abatement and Demolition Inc., of Kansas City, Mo., plead guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City to one count of violating the Clean Air Act. The company admitted to, in the summer and fall of 1995, improperly removing approximately 800 linear feet of asbestos-containing insulating material from old underground steam pipes owned by the Trigen Steam Corp. in Kansas City, Mo. Major Abatement employees used jackhammers to break up the concrete jacket around the pipes, causing asbestos dust to be released into the air. In addition, Major Abatement failed to properly wet the asbestos before it was removed, gave few of its workers proper protective gear, and illegally disposed of the asbestos as road fill at a rail road yard in an economically disadvantaged community in Kansas City. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis” in humans. When sentenced, Major Abatement faces a maximum fine of $500,000. Major Abatement has also paid $100,000 to clean up the asbestos which it had illegally placed in the road bed. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Kansas City Air Quality Control Division with the assistance of EPA’s National Enforcement Investigations Center.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 1998

NEVADA CASINO FINED FOR DUMPING ASBESTOS FROM SHIP

On March 16, the Dunes Marina Resort and Casino Inc., (Dunes) of Reno, Nev., was fined $250,000 and placed on one year probation by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego after it entered a guilty plea to dumping asbestos in ocean waters in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Dunes purchased the motor vessel Muskegon Clipper in 1994, intending to convert it into a river boat gambling casino. The vessel was towed from Seattle, Wash., through the Panama Canal to a shipyard in Mobile, Ala., where it was to be refitted. Dunes hired a crew to conduct demolition work on the Muskegon Clipper while it was enroute to the shipyard. Between March 28, 1994 and May 16, 1994, Dune employees dumped plastic bags containing asbestos into the ocean. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 1998

PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT CHARGED

On March 10, R. David Farley of New Bethlehem, Pa., was charged in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh with the improper removal of asbestos from the Red Bank Valley High School in New Bethlehem, Pa. The charges state that Farley, who was supervisor of the Red Bank Valley Schools, oversaw the removal of at least 160 square feet of floor tiles and glue that contained regulated asbestos-containing material (ACM) from the high school between August 1, 1996 and August 10, 1996. The indictment alleges that the ACM was improperly collected, processed, packaged and disposed of. The indictment further alleges that the ACM was removed without following federal work practice standards and without worker protection. Exposure to airborne asbestos fibers can cause people to develop a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and lung cancer. If convicted, Farley faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Pennsylvania State Police.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1998

ASBESTOS ABATEMENT CONTRACTOR CHARGED

On Feb. 17, Barry Shurelds, a former asbestos abatement contractor who is now serving a 51-month prison term in federal prison for previous asbestos removal crimes in Kentucky, was charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for submitting false asbestos training certificates. The certificates allegedly indicated that the workers had attended courses on how to safely remove asbestos. The government maintains that the workers did not attend the courses. Improper removal of asbestos can expose workers to asbestos fibers which can cause people to develop lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of an additional five years in prison, and/or fines of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 1998

WEST VIRGINIA MAN AND COMPANY CHARGED FOR VIOLATING THE CLEAN AIR ACT

On March 5, Benny C. Battistelli and Power City Plumbing and Heating Inc. (Power City), of Wheeling, W.Va., were indicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia in Martinsburg on several felony counts involving violations of the Clean Air Act. Battistelli is the president of Power City and the owner of the Central Union Building (CUB), also in Wheeling. The indictment alleges that in 1995 and 1997 Battistelli directed Power City employees to remove regulated asbestos-containing material from the CUB without notifying EPA, as required. It further alleges that those employees were not certified to remove asbestos, did not wet the asbestos during removal, did not wear protective clothing when removing the asbestos, and did not utilize air monitoring equipment during the removal. In addition, the indictment charges that Battistelli and Power City disposed of the asbestos at an unapproved site, and that Battistelli made a false statement to an EPA Special Agent concerning the removal of the asbestos. If convicted, Battistelli faces a maximum of up to five years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $250,000 on each count. Power City faces maximum fines of up to $500,000 on each count if convicted. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.

FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 1998

FORMER SUPERVISOR ADMITS ILLEGAL ASBESTOS REMOVAL

On Feb. 26, Nicholas Lee Fortner of Gladstone, Mo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City to one count of illegally removing asbestos. Fortner is the former supervisor for Major Abatement and Demolition Inc., in Kansas City. He admitted that he was involved in the illegal removal of unwetted asbestos from underground steam pipes during a renovation project in 1995. Wetting is important because it protects workers and bystanders by preventing asbestos fibers from becoming airborne and entering the lungs where they can cause lung cancer and a lung disease known as “asbestosis.” Remediation of the abandoned asbestos- containing material cost $100,000. When sentenced Fortner faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Kansas City Air Quality Control Division.