Dillsburg Company Pleads Guilty To Clean Air Act Violation
HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Lobar, Inc., of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania entered a plea of guilty to beginning a demolition project of a former weaving mill prior to removing regulated asbestos containing material as required in 40 C.F.R. § 61.145(c)(1) and 42 U.S.C. § 7413(c)(1).
Asbestos was designated a hazardous air pollutant in 1971 which can become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs. There is no known safe amount of exposure.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, the criminal charge is the result of Lobar’s activity, as the general contractor, on the Berwick Area School District project, to demolish the former weaving mill in Berwick Pennsylvania and construct a new elementary school.
Prior to purchasing the mill in January 2014, the Berwick Area School District obtained an environmental assessment report that identified hazardous substances, including asbestos, located in the old facility. The existence of asbestos was confirmed by an environmental consultant. The findings of both assessments were shared with Lobar, and its subcontractors responsible for asbestos removal and demolition. Despite this, the demolition went forward before the asbestos was properly removed until stopped by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“The defendant was responsible for the integrity of the work site and failed to ensure safe and legal removal of asbestos,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Pennsylvania. “The defendant placed public health at risk and is being held accountable.”
A ten-count indictment filed in January 2020, charged Lobar Inc., First Capital Insulation, Inc., Francis Richard Yingling, Jr., Dennis Lee Charles, Jr., M&J Excavation, Inc., John August Sidari, Jr., and Ty Allen Barnett, with various violations of the federal Clean Air Act arising from disturbing and removing asbestos in violation of the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations. The remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty and are currently scheduled for trial in June 2022 before U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer P. Wilson.
Howard P. Stewart, Senior Litigation Counsel from the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, Assistant United States Paul Miovas and Special Assistant United States Patricia Miller of the Middle District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case. The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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