Niagara Falls Corporation Pleads Guilty to Violation of Clean Air Act
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Tier NY, LLC, located in Niagara Falls, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott, to negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act. The charge is punishable by a fine of $200,000 and a possible term of probation of up to five years.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who is handling the case, stated that Tier, NY, LLC is engaged in the business of cleaning tanks that once carried hazardous materials, including titanium tetrachloride. Titanium tetrachloride, when combined with water, forms hydrochloric acid gas--a hazardous air pollutant listed under the Clean Air Act.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred on June 11, 2013. Tier employees cleaned a tank that last contained titanium tetrachloride. During the cleaning process, employees introduced a caustic solution with an unverified concentration of sodium hydroxide and water into the vessel and negligently caused the release of an unknown quantity of hydrochloric acid gas. The gas then travelled to an adjacent business and placed other people in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge, Vernesa Jones-Allen and Investigators of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, BECI, under the direction of Captain Frank Lauricella.