FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEENRD
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 23, 2000(202) 514-2008
WWW.USDOJ.GOVTDD (202) 514-1888
BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION FIRM AND SUPERVISORS ADMIT TO
ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES IN FLORIDA Firm Illegally Dumped Waste Into Pensacola Bay
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A construction company and three of its supervisors today pleaded guilty in Florida to environmental crimes related to the construction of the Garcon Point Bridge that spans Pensacola Bay.
Odebrecht-Metric admitted to violating the Clean Water Act in the course of building the 3.6-mile bridge. The company and three corporate superintendents - Frank Doddi, Steven Spry, and Marcelino Romero - entered guilty pleas today in U.S. District Court in Pensacola. Each superintendent admitted to negligently failing to supervise construction workers and prevent the dumping of waste debris into the bay under the bridge.
Court documents revealed that during construction of the bridge from 1997 to 1999, debris including concrete, cement pilings, and steel reinforcement bars were dumped into the open water, in violation of a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers. The company's permit allowed it to dump non-hazardous construction debris several miles off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico, where it could have been properly used as reef material.
Investigative dives and sonar have revealed that, as a result of the criminal activity, at least 3.75 acres of construction debris had been left under the bridge span on the bottom of the East Bay and the Pensacola Bay.
Odebrecht-Metric has agreed to pay restitution of more than $2.4 million to the Garcon Point Restoration Trust, which will use the funds to clean up and restore the bay. In addition, the company also will pay restitution totaling $77,000 to several state and local agencies that responded to the illegal dumping.
As part of a plea agreement, Odebrecht-Metric has agreed to pay $1 million in criminal penalties. Additionally, the company will purchase 60 acres of land in Santa Rosa County and donate it to the state of Florida for conservation and public use. The company also will pay $500,000 into a state fund created to help finance environmental crime investigations in Florida.
The individual defendants in this case face criminal fines of up to $25,000 per day of violation, and up to one year imprisonment under the Clean Water Act. Sentencing is scheduled for November 28, 2000.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Florida and the Environment Division of the Justice Department. The case was investigated by the U.S. EPA, the FBI, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with assistance from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department.