CONTRACTING FIRM, ASSOCIATES CHARGED WITH ORGANIZED CRIME, FRAUD AND TAX VIOLATIONS

February 22, 2002

AAR Contractor Inc. (AAR), which formerly conducted business in Latham, N.Y., was charged with various federal violations along with nine associates of the firm, Alexander Salvagno of Loundonville, N.Y., Thomas Reed of Rotterdam, N.Y., Raul Salvagno of Ormand Beach, Fla., Gary Alvord of Niskyuna, N.Y., Anthony Mongato of Gloversville, N.Y., Sheon DiMaio of Gloversville, N.Y., Michael Shanahan of Broadalbin, N.Y., Robert O'Brey of Scotia, N.Y. and Gerald Lindquist of Fort Johnson, N.Y. If convicted on all counts, AAR could receive a maximum fine of up to $2.75 million and each individual defendant could face a maximum sentence of at least 10 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of at least $500,000.

The charges allege that a conspiracy in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act existed at AAR for at least 10 years. As part of this conspiracy, AAR and its owners and supervisors allegedly engaged in money laundering, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud and bid rigging. In addition, the indictment alleges that there was a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and that the law was violated in the illegal removal of asbestos-containing material. The illegal removal allegedly took place at the Troy Central School District, the East Greenbush Central School District, the Emma Willard School, the Bolton Central School District, the Schenectady Central School District, the Watervliet Arsenal, the old Hellman Theater, the Ford Green Island Plant, Hawkins Hall at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, the General Electric Bldg. 2-Cafeteria, New York's State Capitol Building, the Green Haven Correctional Facility, St. Mary's Hospital, the Harriman building of the New York State Department of Labor, the Sunnyview Hospital and other locations.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Postal Service and the New York State Office of Inspector General. Investigative assistance was provided by the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Department of Health and EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Syracuse.


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US REACHES $6.95 MILLION SETTLEMENT ON CALIFORNIA SUPERFUND SITE "CASMALIA"

The Justice Department and EPA announced a proposed settlement totaling nearly $7 million to be used in cleaning up the Casmalia Resources Superfund Site in Central California. The agreement resolves the liability of the Estate of Kenneth H. Hunter, Jr., Casmalia Resources, Hunter Resources and other parties.

Under the proposed settlement, the defendants will pay $6.957 million and waive any claim that the defendants may have to the Casmalia Closure/Post-Closure Trust Fund, currently valued in excess of $13 million. The parties to the settlement will also waive all past and future cleanup claims against the United States.

"This settlement represents our continuing efforts to ensure that those responsible for contamination share in the costs of the cleanup," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Our efforts will remain focused on the remaining liable parties at the Casmalia site who have not settled, to make certain that EPA has all the necessary resources to assure that this site is cleaned up in a timely and protective manner."

"In reaching our second settlement in the past six months for this site, we are working to ensure that we will have the money necessary to devise and implement a long-term, protective cleanup," said Jane Diamond, division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Supferfund Office. "We owe it to those who live and work in the area to bring all our resources to bear in addressing this complex and challenging site."

The Casmalia Resources Site, located 10 miles from Santa Maria, Calif., was an active hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility from 1973 to 1989. The site accepted approximately 5.5 billion pounds of waste from about 10,000 contributors, placing it in 92 waste management facilities that included landfills, ponds, shallow wells and treatment units.

In 1991, the site owner/operator abandoned active efforts to clean up and close the facility, claiming financial difficulties. In 1992, the EPA took action to control the site and address immediate health threats. The site, which is contaminated with a variety of metals, pesticides and other toxic materials, continues to undergo investigation and cleanup work by the Casmalia Steering Committee with oversight by the EPA and the state.

On Dec. 23, 1997, the United States filed suit against Kenneth H. Hunter, Casmalia Resources and Hunter Resources. The United States alleged in its complaint that the defendants owned and/or operated the site and sought to recover costs associated with its cleanup.

This settlement is part of an ongoing EPA effort to secure funding for the cleanup of the 252-acre landfill, which was designated as a federal Superfund site in September 2001. The proposed consent decree was lodged in the Central District of California. The United States will hold a 60-day public comment period on the proposed settlement. For more information on the document, or to submit comments, contact Marie Rongone at (415) 972-3891.


EPA LAUNCHES CLIMATE LEADERS PROGRAM

In a ceremony on Wednesday, February 20, 2002, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman launched a key component of the Administration's new climate policy, Climate Leaders. This new voluntary partnership challenges businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and provides a significant opportunity to achieve the greenhouse gas intensity reductions set forth in the Administration's new policy.

"When President Bush committed the United States to reducing ? voluntarily ? our greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent over the next decade, he knew that it would take a heavy reliance on partnerships to achieve our goal," said EPA Administrator Whitman. "The new Climate Leaders program is exactly what he had in mind ? and I am pleased to be able to announce this voluntary partnership between government and industry today."

Whitman also recognized those companies joining as charter members in the Climate Leaders program. Charter members have committed to complete a corporate-wide greenhouse gas inventory and work with EPA to set an emissions reduction target. These companies represent a diverse group of energy-intensive and service-oriented companies. In the coming months, the Administration will aggressively pursue additional corporate partners representing a wide spectrum of the U.S. economy.

"The companies that participate in this program ? promising to meet a higher standard than other companies in their sector ? are showing true leadership as environmental stewards," said Whitman. "They are proving that doing what is good for the environment, is also good for business. They are providing an example to everyone that we all must do our share to address the effects of climate change ? and we must start now, as they have."

The Climate Leaders Charter Partners are:

  • FPL Group Inc., (Juno Beach, Florida)
  • General Motors Corporation (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Holcim (US) Inc. (Dundee, Michigan)
  • Interface Inc. (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Miller Brewing Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Norm Thompson Outfitters (Portland, Oregon)
  • S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. (Racine, Wisconsin)
  • Cinergy Corporation, (Cincinnati Ohio)
  • Bethlehem Steel Corporation (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
  • PSEG (Newark, New Jersey)

Climate Leaders Partners work with EPA to develop corporate-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories and set aggressive, long-term GHG reduction goals. Partners develop their greenhouse gas inventory using the Climate Leaders' Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Protocol. Companies report emissions of the six major greenhouse gases from all major on-site emissions of greenhouse gases and emissions related to the electricity they purchase. Companies may also report emissions and reductions from a number of other activities including investments in offset projects. The Climate Leaders Protocol is based on an existing protocol developed by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

After Partners complete their greenhouse gas inventory, EPA will work closely with them to develop a customized emissions reduction target. These targets must be aggressive long-term targets that exceed business-as-usual performance for the Partner's sector.

For more information on Climate Leaders, contact Cynthia Cummis, at 202-564-3480.


ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY FINED $9 MILLION IN FRAUD CASE

Intertek Testing Services Inc. (ITS), of Richardson, Texas, was fined $9 million for falsifying the results of environmental tests.

ITS conducted environmental sample analysis, primarily as a subcontractor, for environmental consulting firms, engineering firms and federal, state and local governments nationwide. The test results were used for decision making at Superfund sites, Department of Defense facilities and hazardous waste sites to determine site safety and to monitor the migration of hazardous wastes, including cancer-causing petrochemicals. The migration could affect ground water, drinking water and soil conditions in places where people might be exposed. Falsifying test results related to potential routes of human exposure can create a risk of serious medical problems, including increased risk of cancer.

In addition to the fine levied against ITS, James Neil Mayhew, of Lewisville, Texas, a former ITS employee, was sentenced to six months home detention and 36 months probation for mail fraud in connection with the case. Four other former ITS employees, Rodney L. Rolland of Rowlett, Texas, Victor DeAnthony Littles of Glendale, Ariz.,Valerie Hong Truong of McAllen, Texas and Melissa K. Duncan of St. Peters, Mo., were all sentenced to 24 months probation for making false claims.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with the assistance of EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the EPA Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation, the EPA Region 6 Environmental Services Branch, the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.


UPCOMING DEADLINES

EPCRA

  • March 1, 2002 - Annual Tier I and Tier II Inventory Reports due

RCRA

  • March 1, 2002 - Biennial (or annual in some states) reports due from hazardous waste generators and treatment, storage, or disposal facility owner/operators.
  • March 1, 2002 - Annual reports due from primary exporters of hazardous waste
  • March 1, 2002 - Annual groundwater monitoring reports due
  • March 15, 2002 - Annual report due from facilities conducting treatability studies