Marietta Industrial Enterprises, Inc. (MIE) has agreed to pay a $37,500 fine and make a $12,500 community service payment after pleading guilty to a felony charge of failing to report violations of the company’s permit in connection with its mineral processing operation.
Company president William Scott Elliott pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of being an accessory after the fact for failing to notify Ohio Environmental Protection Agency of the violations.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Carter Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and Scott J. Nally, Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) announced the pleas entered today before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
“We will not tolerate an intentional failure to operate properly installed and permitted air pollution controls,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “This type of behavior threatens Ohioans with unnecessary pollutants.”
MIE’s plea agreement includes a recommendation that the company pay a fine of $37,500 and make a community service payment of $12,500 to the Warren Township Fire Department. Elliott’s plea agreement includes a recommended sentence of 48 consecutive hours in jail followed by five months and 28 days of home confinement with electronic monitoring. Judge Marbley will review the plea agreement before deciding whether or not to accept the terms and recommended sentences.
“The company has agreed to perform 200 hours of community service, with at least 100 hours being personally performed by Elliott, in addition to a three-year probation term for the company, which must conduct an environmental audit of their facilities and correct any deficiencies identified in that audit,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “These steps will ensure safety for the community and employees going forward.”
According to court documents, one of MIE’s manufacturing processes is crushing medium carbon ferromanganese alloy, referred to as medium carbon, in a mill line. Emissions from the mill lines are captured by equipment known as a baghouse using a large electric fan to ensure that air pollution from the facility is limited. According to court documents, company employees began turning off the fan when processing medium carbon sometime in 2006.
MIE’s permit calls for the company to disclose any instances that the baghouse has not operated properly in its quarterly and annual reports to Ohio EPA. Between 2006 and 2009, MIE never reported that the baghouse fans were turned off during the processing of medium carbon. From July 19, 2009 through August 10, 2010, Elliott, on behalf of MIE, submitted reports to Ohio EPA. None of the reports stated that the baghouse fans were turned off during the processing of medium carbon.
This case was jointly investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio EPA, and the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, all members of the Central Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous prosecuted the case.