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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 2, 2016

Webster County Kentucky, Business Owner Sentenced For Negligent Violation Of The Clean Air Act

Failed to follow safety regulations when demolishing facilities containing asbestos

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A Webster County, Kentucky business owner was sentenced in United States District Court this week, by Magistrate Judge H. Brent Brennenstuhl to serve a 90-day sentence plus two years probated with the condition that he not commit additional environmental offenses, for the negligent violation of the Clean Air Act, which is a Class A Misdemeanor, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

Timothy J. Smith, of Providence, and owner of S&S Salvage, LLC., admitted in court Wednesday, November 30, 2016, to failing to follow regulations during the demolition of the former Goodyear Tire plant located in Madisonville, Kentucky.

“These federal safety guidelines for hazardous materials exist to protect us – to protect workers and protect the community,” stated United States Attorney John Kuhn.  “Mr. Smith repeatedly disregarded these guidelines, thereby putting the safety and health of others at risk.  Our fervent hope is that 90 days of incarceration will encourage Mr. Smith and others to think long and hard before once again violating regulations that ensure worker and community safety,”

According to details of the plea agreement, in January 2014, a Madisonville City Inspector observed demolition activities at the tire plant, located at 200 Commerce Drive, and informed a manager for S&S Salvage that any demolition activities at the facility required a ten-day notice to the City because the building contained asbestos. On February 19, 2014, the same inspector returned to find employees of S&S Salvage conducting demolition activities consisting of destruction of a boiler and pipes with acetylene torches and placement of the insulation in dumpsters. None of the employees was wearing any kind of respirator nor did the inspector observe employees wetting insulation materials, as required by regulations established for this purpose. Kentucky Environmental officials, also present at the scene, took samples of the suspected asbestos containing materials. The samples were positive for asbestos ranging in content from 10 to 20%.

On May 25, 2016, EPA/CID Agents met with Smith. Smith had on two prior occasions been involved in enforcement actions with the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection involving demolition projects for which he had failed to provide notice or provide an environmental survey prior to conducting demolition projects.  Smith admitted that he was “guilty” in not performing these tasks prior to engaging in cutting up and removing the boilers and pipes from the 200 Commerce Drive location in Madisonville on or about February19, 2014.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ream. The case was investigated by the Kentucky Division of Air Quality and the United States Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigation Division.

Topic(s): 
Environment
Updated December 2, 2016