U.S. Attorney's Office, EPA and State of New York Announce Settlement with Holcim (US) Inc. to Address Environmental Violations at Cement Manufacturing Facility
UTICA, NEW YORK – Certified Environmental Services, Inc. (“CES”) was sentenced today to 5 years of probation, and to make restitution in the amount of $409,829.67, for negligently releasing asbestos into the ambient air, thereby placing other persons in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury, announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.
U.S. District Judge David N. Hurd credited CES for prior restitution payments of $87,960.06 and ordered CES to make an initial lump-sum payment of $100,000 toward its restitution obligation, and then pay monthly installments of $2,000 or 10% of CES’s net monthly cash flow, whichever is greater. Judge Hurd also credited CES for time already served on its 5-year probation sentence.
United States Attorney Hartunian said, “CES was paid to conduct proper air monitoring to preserve the basic right to clean air when asbestos was removed from homes and other buildings. It was the gatekeeper for the environment, but violated requirements and provided final clearances when asbestos contamination remained. This was cutting corners with consequences – the release of dangerous, toxic asbestos fibers into the air. We are committed to securing justice for abatement contractors and air monitors, as well as restitution for the harm they leave behind.”
The admissions by CES, in connection with pleading guilty to a one-count misdemeanor Information on May 5, 2015, included the following:
In 2010, a 15-count superseding indictment charged CES and others with environmental offenses and mail fraud, and a jury trial concluded with the conviction of CES and three co-defendants. In 2014, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the convictions and remanded for a new trial as to the three defendants (including CES) that appealed their convictions. The sentencing of CES for negligent endangerment resolves the pending charges against CES and two co-defendants who also appealed. Two other co-defendants face re-sentencing.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, New York Regional Office and Syracuse Resident Office, whose diligence and dedication U.S. Attorney Hartunian commended. On remand, the case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith.