Houston County Man Guilty of Violating Asbestos Work Practice Standards
MARSHALL, Texas – A 60-year-old Kennard, Texas man has pleaded guilty to federal environmental violations, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Rodney K. Beshears pleaded guilty to violating the work practice standards of the Clean Air Act today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne.
According to information presented in court, Beshears admitted that in October of 2011, he and his employees began excavating and removing a pipeline in northeast Texas. On Dec. 16, 2011, an inspector with the Texas Department of State Health Services conducted a site inspection where Beshears was removing the pipeline near Diana, Texas, and informed Beshears that the pipeline had a coating of asbestos. On Dec. 21, 2011, Beshears received training on asbestos removal practices which included instructions on the proper handling of asbestos material required under the work practice standards of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants or “NESHAP” rules for asbestos when excavating and removing pipe with a coating of asbestos. On Jan. 13, 2012, the Texas Department of State Health Services inspected another site where Beshears was excavating and removing the pipeline just outside of Ore City, Texas and again informed Beshears that the pipe had a coating of asbestos material.
Beshears’ removal of the pipeline continued through March, 2012, during which time, Beshears removed, and caused others to remove, several thousand feet of pipeline which contained regulated asbestos containing material, between Diana and Ore City, Texas. The excavation, cutting and removal of the pipeline, as directed by Beshears, included no wetting of the asbestos material that coated the pipeline as Beshears had been instructed during the training. The asbestos material was crumbled and pulverized by hitting the pipe coating with a hammer to knock it off the pipe to expose the pipe so it could be cut into pieces; asbestos was crumbled and pulverized by dragging the pipe segments across the ground; and asbestos was not disposed of at approved disposal facilities. Beshears was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 3, 2014.
Under federal statutes, Beshears faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by congress and is provided for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in Dallas, Texas, the TCEQ’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.