WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal indictment was returned in Salt Lake City, Utah, charging Pacific States-a manufacturer of cast iron pipe owned by McWane, Inc.-and two managers with committing conspiracy, Clean Air Act (CAA) violations, and submitting false statements to the government, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.
The six-count indictment charges the owner of Pacific States, McWane, Inc., as well as Charles Matlock who is both a Vice President of McWane, Inc. and General Manager of Pacific States, and Charles “Barry” Robison, Vice President of Environmental Affairs for McWane, Inc., with conspiracy to violate federal clean air regulations as well as the submission of false documents required by the EPA.
“McWane has repeatedly illustrated an indifference to the laws that protect our environment,” said Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division. “Today’s indictment is proof that companies that break our nation’s environmental laws and show blatant disregard for telling the truth will be prosecuted and brought to justice.”
McWane, Inc., which operates a division called Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company in Provo, is among the largest manufacturers in the world of ductile iron pipe with more than a dozen plants in the United States and Canada. McWane’s products are used primarily for municipal and commercial water and sewer installations.
“Flagrant violations of environmental law will be vigorously pursued,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This shows complete disregard for the well being of the whole community.”
“Environmental crime hurts all of us in Utah,” said U.S. Attorney Paul Warner. “You do not have to be an environmentalist to want clean air and clean water for yourself and others. Those who pollute the environment for commercial gain here in Utah will do so at their risk, as we will aggressively pursue them and hold them personally responsible. With this prosecution today we are sending the message that the cost of doing business for corporate polluters in Utah just went up-way up.”
McWane, Inc. and the individual defendants were charged in connection with, among other things, the following events alleged in the indictment:
• Operating the cupola furnace when it was known that the air pollution control device was insufficient to remove pollutants to the extent required by law. • Causing compliance tests to be rendered inaccurate by melting pig iron on test days, rather than the normal feedstock of shredded scrap automobiles to avoid the cost of upgrading pollution control equipment and taking other measures that would have been necessary to reduce the emission of a dangerous air pollutant from the Provo facility and comply with environmental regulations. • Submitting to the State of Utah Emission Inventory Reports and other correspondence that intentionally misrepresented the amount of the air pollutant PM10 emitted by the facility. PM10 is particulate matter that settles very slowly and stays suspended in the air. PM10 is particulate matter that can become deeply embedded in human lung tissue and cause respiratory problems and exacerbate other cardiovascular diseases. In addition to negative health effects, particulate matter reduces visibility and speeds the deterioration of buildings.
The indictment charges the company and each of the defendants with conspiracy, which for the individuals carries a maximum penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine, and for the company carries a maximum fine of $500,000. Charles Matlock was charged additionally with one count of violating the CAA by tampering with a monitoring device which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. Barry Robison was charged additionally with one count of making a false statement for submitting a report of the emissions inventory for the facility that he knew to be inaccurate, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. The company is charged in all counts of the indictment.
Charges in an indictment are merely accusations. Each of the defendants is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in federal court
McWane, Inc. has pleaded guilty in two districts and was convicted following trial in a third. McWane, Inc. is currently in trial in a fourth district.
• In March 2005, Tyler Pipe Company, a division of McWane, Inc. located in Tyler, Texas, pleaded guilty to submitting a false statement and violating the CAA. Tyler Pipe agreed to pay a criminal fine of $4.5 million and is subject to a probation period of five years.
• In June 2005, in Birmingham, Alabama, McWane, Inc. and former Vice President and General Manager of the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company James Delk were convicted of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act and of violating the Clean Water Act by allowing discharges of industrial process wastewater into Avondale Creek in Birmingham through storm drains in violation of their permit. Charles “Barry” Robison, the Vice President for Environmental Affairs at McWane, Inc., was also convicted of submitting a false statement to the EPA. Sentencing for this case is scheduled for December 5, 2005. • In September 2005, Union Foundry Company, a division of McWane, Inc. an iron foundry located in Anniston, Alabama, was sentenced to $4.25 million in criminal fines and community service. The McWane, Inc. Division pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging illegal treatment of hazardous waste and worker safety violations that resulted in the death of an employee.
• In December 2003, in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Atlantic States, a subsidiary of McWane, Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama, and several managers were charged with conspiracy to violate federal clean air and water regulations and laws governing workplace safety, as well as obstruction of criminal and regulatory investigations by EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This case is currently in the midst of a four month trial.
The case is being prosecuted by Christopher Costantini and Andrea Steward, Trial Attorneys in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in Washington.
U.S. Attorney Warner credited Special Agents of the U.S. EPA, under the direction of Lori A. Hanson, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division for Region Eight.