WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jeffery L. Springer of Phoenix, Arizona was sentenced today to three years of probation, $2,000 in fines, and $75,000 in restitution to victims for violating the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Department of Justice announced today. Springer has also been sentenced to a period of up to 90 days of home confinement, contingent upon the recommendation of the probation officer. Previously, Springer pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona for failing to comply with work practice standards required for the safe removal and packaging of asbestos during the demolition of a commercial building.
“This prosecution for illegal asbestos removal demonstrates, once again, that environmental crimes endanger workers,” said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Springer is the former owner of Oljato Industries and its industrial facility, which consisted of several buildings in Phoenix. Between July and September of 2000, Springer hired workers to demolish the buildings at the site but failed to perform the required site survey prior to the demolition. During a separate assessment by local environmental inspectors, it was determined that approximately 2,550 square feet of asbestos existed at the site. Inspectors conducted subsequent inspections during the demolition and noted that Springer was not following several requirements for asbestos removal, including wetting the material or providing workers with the appropriate protective equipment. None of the workers were trained in the handling of asbestos.
Paul K. Charlton, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona said, “Asbestos is a known carcinogen. Exposing untrained workers to asbestos is inexcusable.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul V. Rood and Ruth A. McQuade, trial attorney with the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice. The case was investigated by agents with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Transportation, Inspector General’s office.