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Justice News

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Niagara Falls Corporation Sentenced For Violation Of Clean Air Act

CONTACT:     Barbara Burns
PHONE:        (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Tier NY, LLC, located in Niagara Falls, NY, which was convicted of negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act, was sentenced to two years probation and a $25,000 fine by U. S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott.

Judge Scott also ordered the company to make $25,000 in capital improvements, relating to environmental compliance within the first 18 months of probation. Tier was also ordered to develop and institute an environmental training program which will provide an overview of the pertinent environmental statutes and regulations, and shall be provided to all current employees within 60 days of being approved by Probation, and shall be provided to all new employees within seven days of being hired.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango, who handled 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.             

“Today's case represents yet another example of this Office's commitment to protecting the health and safety of the community,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul.             

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part 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.

Updated February 6, 2015