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DEMOLITION COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR IMPROPER HANDLING OF ASBESTOS DURING DEMOLITION OF PIQUA MEDICAL CENTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013
http://www.justice.gov/usao/ohs
CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer
(614) 469-5715

DAYTON, OHIO – Lamont P. Pryor, 47, of Lima, Ohio was sentenced to 13 months in prison for violating the Clean Air Act in connection with his company’s handling of asbestos during the demolition of the former Piqua Medical Center in 2008. 

Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Scott J. Nally, Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.

Pryor pleaded guilty on August 8, 2013 to three counts of violating the National Environmental Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) provisions of the Clean Air Act.
According to court documents, Pryor and his company, Avalon Commonwealth Inc., removed scrap metal from the hospital as part of the demolition process. The scrap metal was removed and sold, but the rest of the demolition debris, including friable asbestos, was piled in areas around the hospital, exposed to the wind and elements. Pryor knew that he was not supposed to leave the friable asbestos outside the hospital, exposed to the elements, but instead was supposed to properly deposit the asbestos that was generated as result of his renovation and demolition activities at the hospital at a licensed asbestos waste disposal facility. Pryor knowingly failed to do so.

A representative of the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), the local air pollution control agency serving Miami County and the city of Piqua, inspected the site in December 2008, saw the damaged asbestos outside the hospital, and asked that demolition be halted while the investigation took place.

“Knowingly cutting corners in handling asbestos is a threat to communities that cannot be tolerated,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “We will work with our task force partners to prosecute those who try to make a quick buck by endangering the health of Ohioans.” 

“Asbestos can cause cancer and other serious respiratory diseases and must be handled legally and safely,” said Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Ohio.  “The defendant directed his employees to remove scrap metal from the hospital without regard to the asbestos contained in the building and to pile asbestos contaminated debris outside the hospital where the material was left exposed.  Mr. Pryor's actions threatened not only the environment but the safety of his untrained workers and the general public.  This case should serve notice that EPA and its partner agencies will not abide by those who do not handle and dispose of asbestos properly.”

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation conducted by the U.S. EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Environmental Enforcement Unit in Ohio Attorney General DeWine’s Office, the Ohio EPA Office of Special Investigations and RAPCA. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Sistla and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson with the U.S. EPA.
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