Company Officials Found Guilty of Worker Safety Violations

WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A New Jersey cast iron pipe manufacturer, Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. (a division of McWane, Inc.) and four company officials were found guilty of committing flagrant abuses of environmental and worker safety laws, the Justice Department and Environmental Agency announced today. The charges include, among others, the regular discharge of oil into the Delaware River, concealing serious worker injuries from health and safety inspectors, and maintaining a dangerous workplace that contributed to multiple severe injuries and the death of one employee at the Phillipsburg, New Jersey plant.

After approximately six days of deliberations, the jury returned guilty verdicts against five of six defendants: Atlantic States; plant manager John Prisque; maintenance supervisor Jeffrey Maury; finishing superintendent Craig Davidson; and former Atlantic States human resource manager Scott Faubert -- each of whom face prison time for the convictions. One defendant, Daniel Yadzinski, formerly the engineering manager at the plant, was acquitted on three counts.

U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper, who presided over the nearly seven-month-long trial -- the longest environmental crimes trial prosecuted by the Justice Department -- scheduled the sentencing for the corporation and individual defendants for September 7, 2006.

"As a multiple offender, McWane has time and again shown a disturbing indifference towards the health and safety of their workers and a blatant disregard for the natural environment we all share," said Sue Ellen Wooldridge, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Today's conviction shows that the Department of Justice takes seriously its responsibility to enforce the nation's environmental laws. And when companies or individuals break them with such shocking regularity, they will be vigorously prosecuted."

"Atlantic States and these defendants committed heinous crimes against workers and New Jersey's environment," said Christopher J. Christie, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. "We will not be stopped in our efforts to protect New Jersey workers and the land and rivers of our state."

"The conviction of Atlantic States and its managers after a trial of unprecedented length sends a clear message: neither EPA nor the public will tolerate knowing and rampant environmental misconduct," said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "This manner of 'doing business' injures workers, the public and our environment, and EPA will continue to deter such flagrant disregard of pollution laws by vigorously pursuing not only corporations, but also the culpable individuals regardless of their position within the organization."

The 34-count indictment charged Atlantic States, a subsidiary of McWane Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama, and the named managers, with conspiracy to violate federal clean air and water regulations and laws governing workplace safety, as well as obstruction of criminal and regulatory investigations by the EPA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The company and the four managers were each convicted on Count One of the 34-count indictment, charging that they and the company engaged in an eight-year conspiracy to pollute the air and Delaware River in violation of the federal Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, expose its employees to dangerous conditions and impede federal regulatory and criminal investigations. For the individual defendants, the conspiracy count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a fine of $500,000 for the company.

Atlantic States was named in all counts of the indictment, and was also convicted on five counts of making materially false statements to state and federal environmental agencies and the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA); four counts of obstructing OSHA investigations; 22 counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act and one count of violating the Clean Air Act.

In addition to the main conspiracy conviction, the verdicts for the individual defendants were as follows:

John Prisque, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:

    * Guilty of three counts of obstruction of an OSHA investigation, and one not guilty of obstructing OSHA.
    * Guilty on one count of violating the Clean Water Act.
    * Guilty on one count of violating the Clean Air Act.

Scott Faubert, of Easton, Pennsylvania:

    * Guilty on one count of making false statements to OSHA.
    * Guilty on two counts of obstructing an OSHA investigation.

Jeffrey Maury, 36, of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania:

    * Guilty on one count of making false statements to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and the FBI.
    * Guilty of obstruction of an OSHA investigation
    * Guilty of seven counts of violating the Clean Water Act

Craig Davidson, of Nazareth, Pennsylvania:

    * Guilty on one count of making false statements to the NJ Department of Law and Public Safety and a NJ Department of Environmental Protection emergency responder.
    * Guilty on 16 counts of violating the Clean Water Act.

The privately held McWane, Inc. and its divisions are among the largest manufacturers in the world of ductile iron pipe with more than a dozen plants in the United States and Canada. McWane's products are used primarily for municipal and commercial water and sewer installations.

Assistant Attorney General Sue Ellen Wooldridge of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Christie credited Special Agents of the U.S. EPA, under the direction of William V. Lometti, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division in New York; staff of OSHA's Avenel, N.J. office, under the direction of Patricia K. Clark, OSHA Regional Administrator in New York; the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson; the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Zulima Farber; and the Phillipsburg Police Department.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney Norv McAndrew, Andrew Goldsmith, Senior Trial Attorney and Assistant Section Chief in the Environmental Crimes Section, and Senior Trial Attorney Deborah Harris in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in Washington.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

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