Justice Department and EPA File Complaint Against Norfolk Southern for Unlawful Discharge of Pollutants and Hazardous Substances in East Palestine Derailment
A Shaker Heights man was indicted in federal court for violations related to improperly operating an incinerator.
Anthony Gray, 63, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
According to the indictment:
Gray was the co-owner of Lomack Drum Company (LDC), also known as L. Gray Barrel & Drum and Gray Container LLC. The company was located in Cleveland and reconditioned metal drums.
Gray served as operations manager and sales manager, while another person, identified in court documents as Owner 2, served as environmental manager and maintenance manager.
Some drums were passed through an incinerator at the facility as part of the reconditioning process. The contents of the drums were burned out as they passed through the incinerator. The incinerator had to be operated above a certain temperature, otherwise incomplete combustion would occur, producing dioxins and furans.
A temporary restraining order was issued in 2009 ordering LDC to cease operations of the incinerator at its facility. Gray and Owner 2 agreed to several new conditions with the operation of the incinerator, including testing the incinerator in the presence of an inspector demonstrating it could operate about 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, according to indictment.
Gray and Owner 2 scheduled compliance demonstrations with inspectors but the incinerator did not maintain the required operating temperature. To date, LDC has not demonstrated the incinerator can be operated according to its permit.
Gray and Owner 2 directed and were aware the incinerator operated at night, concealing violations of the facility’s permit. Gray and Owner 2 also lied to authorities about operating the incinerator, according to the indictment.
Gray and Owner 2, as well as LDC employees, operated the incinerator after dark and at night numerous times in 2013 and 2014. This included placing drums containing paints and solvents onto the conveyor belt going through the incinerator.
This resulted in the burning of several hundred drums to be burned every night the incinerator burned, causing flaming drums visible from several hundred feet away and at times emitted an offensive odor, according to the indictment, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad J. Beeson following an investigation by U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Ohio EPA - Special Investigations Unit, with assistance from the Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Fire Department, and Cleveland Division of Air Pollution Control.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.