McWane Inc. will pay $3 million to settle charges of falsifying air emissions reports at a cast-iron pipe foundry in Provo, Utah. This is the largest criminal fine levied in Utah for an environmental violation. The plea announcement involved a 2000 furnace emissions test used for two annual emissions reports filed by Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co., a subsidiary of McWane Inc., which is based in Birmingham, Alabama. An indictment accused the company of feeding pig iron instead of its usual supply of contaminated automobile scrap into the foundry to cover up pollution violations. The foundry casts water and sewer pipes, fire hydrants, and fittings. The company will remain under the scrutiny of probation for three years. The guilty plea was for submitting a false emissions test to Utah regulators. Charles Matlock, a former vice-president and general manager at the foundry, also pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington, D.C., to violating the Clean Air Act by manipulating an emission test. He will be sentenced on May 2nd.
This conviction was the fourth prosecutors have obtained against McWane in the last 12 months for environmental violations. In December, McWane was ordered to pay a $5 million fine for discharging industrial waste. In the Provo case, McWane engaged in a concerted effort to rig state-required compliance tests. It then misrepresented repeatedly the level of pollution. EPA enforcement administrator Granta Y. Nakayama says the conviction sends a message that companies that “put public health and the environment at risk will be vigorously prosecuted.” That is certainly good news!
Source: Associated Press
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