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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boone County Man Indicted for Violations of the Clean Air Act

St. Louis, MO – DANIEL T. WRIGHT was indicted involving his failure to properly dispose of asbestos from a former school building in Owensville, Missouri.

According to the indictment, in August 2013, Wright was contracted to remove and properly dispose of asbestos from a former school building in Owensville, Missouri, for $104,000.  Wright solicited and received a verbal bid for asbestos abatement and disposal from GEHM Environmental for $86,000.  However, Wright ultimately decided to employ workers who were not licensed or trained to work with asbestos to complete the abatement.  The crew was mostly comprised of local people, including high school students.

After being advised by the City of Owensville that he needed to obtain a demolition permit, Wright obtained a demolition package, which included a notice that demolitions needed to comply with all state and federal guidelines and required notifications.  A demolition permit was granted by the City of Owensville.  The day after receiving the permit, the project was shut down by the Owensville Police Department after having received complaints from local citizens. The indictment alleges that Wright continued unpermitted demolition activities and asbestos removal at the building even after being informed by the City that the building contained asbestos and that demolition activities were banned.  Wright failed to ensure that the asbestos insulation was deposited at an approved waste disposal site. Instead, Wright had the untrained workers dispose of the material in large boxes that remained on the property and in rented dumpsters that sat behind the school.   

Wright, Harrisburg, Missouri, was indicted by a federal grand jury on three felony counts of violation of the Clean Air Act relating to the removal and disposal of asbestos.

If convicted, each of these charges carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.    

This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Owensville Police Department. United States Attorney Dianna Collins is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.          

Updated April 1, 2015