Golden Company Sentenced for Violating the Clean Air Act
DENVER – OE Construction Corporation, a Golden-based excavation and underground utility company, pled guilty yesterday to being an accessory after the fact to violating the Clean Air Act. U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Kristin L. Mix sentenced OE to pay a $15,000 fine and up to $55,000 in restitution to companies that purchased modified trucks from OE. She also sentenced OE to three years of supervised probation, during which time the government will closely monitor OE’s trucks to ensure that their emissions systems are in compliance with state and federal law.
According to the plea agreement, an employee at OE worked with a Canadian company called J-Ball Electronics to falsify the monitoring devices required by the Clean Air Act on at least six OE Construction-owned vehicles. The OE Construction employee purchased kits from J-Ball that allowed him to alter the vehicles’ emission control systems. The effect of these modifications was to dramatically increase the release of dangerous pollutants from these vehicles, including particulate matter, NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides), and hydrocarbons.
When contacted by the government concerning these Clean Air Act violations, OE Construction admitted that four vehicles had been modified, and assured the government that only the four vehicles had been tampered with and that it had repaired the four vehicles. However, OE Construction did not reveal that J-Ball and OE’s employee had modified at least two other vehicles that OE Construction intended to put up for auction. In this way, OE attempted to avoid detection, prosecution, and punishment for the additional vehicles that the OE employee had modified.
“We take seriously our job of protecting the environment in Colorado, and we won’t hesitate to prosecute corporations or individuals committing environmental crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer.
“Emission control devices for vehicles are required to ensure public health and safety,” said Jeffrey Martinez, special agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Colorado. “The illegal actions in this case were not isolated incidents or mistakes; they were deliberately and carefully planned. Today’s sentencing shows that EPA and its law enforcement partners will hold responsible those who violate laws designed to protect the health of our communities.”
This matter was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebecca Weber and Suneeta Hazra.
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