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HP Boston Building, LLC Pleads Guilty To Felony Violation Of Clean Air Act In Connection With Asbestos Removed During Renovation Work

Company Will Pay Maximum Fine

May 18, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY – HP Boston Building, LLC, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in federal court to violating provisions of the Clean Air Act governing asbestos removal in connection with a demolition and renovation project at the Boston Building at 9 Exchange Place in Salt Lake City. The renovation activities, which took place after the company bought the building, occurred from about May 8, 2007, through about Sept. 13, 2007.

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer imposed a $500,000 fine, the maximum sentence allowed under law for the violation, at Wednesday’s hearing. Judge Nuffer placed the company on probation for 36 months and, as a special condition of probation, ordered it to conduct asbestos training for its employees and other entities affiliated with Hamilton Partners, Inc., in Utah and Illinois.

The company, through its attorney and representative, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a violation of the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the company’s handling of asbestos during the renovation project. The Felony Information was filed Tuesday in federal court.
“Work practice standards for the handling of asbestos exist to protect human life. When companies have information that requires further investigation regarding asbestos in their building and then fail to take the necessary measures to protect their workers and the public from asbestos exposure, they will not only have to spend vast sums of money remediating the contamination, they will be prosecuted,” U.S. Attorney David B. Barlow said today.

"Exposure to asbestos can cause cancer and other serious respiratory diseases, so demolition work must be conducted safely and legally," said Lori Hanson, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Denver. "This sentence demonstrates that those who 'cut corners' and commit environmental crimes will be prosecuted."

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has issued work practice standards to regulate the emission of asbestos during demolition or renovation activities that involve at least 160 square feet of asbestos containing material or 260 linear feet of asbestos containing material on pipes. HP Boston Building, LLC, admitted that it violated the work practice standards by failing to thoroughly inspect the part of the facility where the demolition or renovation operation occurred for the presence of asbestos; failing to adequately wet the material and ensure that it remained wet until collected and treated in preparation for lawful disposal; failing to carefully lower the material to the ground; and failing to transport the material to the ground in leak-tight chutes or containers when it was removed more than 50 feet above the ground level; and failing to have at last one foreman or management-level person, certified and trained in emissions standards for
hazardous air pollutants on-site during the project.

As a part of the plea agreement, the company admitted that it purchased the Boston Building in April 2007 and sought to renovate it. Based on the collective knowledge of its employees, the company knew that the demolition or renovation activity in the Boston Building involved asbestos. The company acknowledged that prior to engaging in the demolition and renovation of the building, it failed to thoroughly inspect the parts of the building where the work was being done for asbestos. The demolition project involved at least 160 square feet of asbestos and at least 260 linear feet of asbestos on pipes.

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