August 24, 2001

EPA Administrator Christine Whitman, in a memo to top agency officials, last week, reaffirmed the agency's commitment to environmental justice and its integration into all programs, policies, and activities consistent with existing environmental laws and their regulations.

In the memo, Whitman said environmental justice means fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of all environmental laws and policies and their meaningful involvement in the decision making processes of the government.

The Administrator said environmental statutes provide many opportunities to address environmental risks and hazards in minority or low-income communities. "Application of these existing statutory provisions is an important part of this Agency's effort to prevent those communities from being subject to disproportionately high and adverse impacts and environmental effects," Whitman said.

Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or social economic group should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local and tribal programs and policies.

"Environmental justice is achieved when everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work," Whitman said.

The Administrator stressed that the Agency would need to conduct the programs and activities that substantially affect human health and the environment in a manner that ensures the fair treatment of all people, including minority populations and/or low-income populations. She said the Agency should ensure greater public participation in the Agency's development and implementation of environmental regulations and policies.

Further information is available at http://es.epa.gov/oeca/main/ej.


Two men were sentenced on August 9 to over two years imprisonment each and a total $1 million in fines and restitution for committing an environmental offense under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. They were officials of Hi-Po of Northfield, Mich., who were sentenced for violating the Clean Water Act on two occasions.

Aaron Smith of Northville, Mich., former president and owner, and Steven Carbeck of Ann Arbor, Mich., Hi-Po's former operations manager, were sentenced. Smith received 33 months imprisonment and Carbeck 27 months. In addition, Smith will pay restitution of approximately $500,000 to several victims and he will also forfeit an additional $500,000 in funds obtained through illegal activity. Carbeck will be responsible to join Smith in paying $430,000 of the restitution. Hi-Po will pay a $50,000 fine and will make a total of $75,000 in restitution payments.

In their guilty pleas in February, Hi-Po admitted intentionally releasing diesel fuel into a storm sewer and a pond in Ann Arbor to make a fraudulent claim and receive payment from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to clean up the releases. Smith and Carbeck admitted that they illegally profited from Hi-Po's unlawful activities. Smith's RICO plea included illegal money laundering, mail fraud and bribery of a public official. Carbeck's guilty plea included admission of money laundering and mail fraud. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI and the University of Michigan Department of Public Safety. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit.


Gary Rasmussen of San Diego, Calif. was sentenced on Aug. 13 for his conviction on two counts of illegally transporting hazardous waste in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and on one count of conspiracy to violate the law. He was sentenced to serve five months in prison and five months in a community confinement center. He also must reimburse EPA $50,689 in cleanup costs and pay a $3,000 fine.

Rasmussen illegally transported hazardous waste from Oceanside, Calif. to an unapproved site in Chula Vista, Calif. without a hazardous waste manifest. The wastes were discovered in a container at a vacant lot in Chula Vista. The wastes consisted of crystallized picric acid, tetrahydrofuran and sodium metal, all of which are potentially explosive. In addition, nitroethane, potassium dichromate, nitric acid, copper cyanide, potassium cyanide, sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid were found in the container. The reactive wastes could have exploded, if disturbed, and cause a fire. A toxic cyanide gas cloud could have been released if the acids and cyanides mixed together as a result of an explosion, a serious risk to human health.

Rasmussen's co-conspirator, Marvin Hutchinson, who along with Rasmussen oversaw the loading of the container with the hazardous waste, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate RCRA and to the unlawful transportation of hazardous materials.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI, the federal Department of Transportation's Inspector General, and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health Services. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego, Calif.


Jennifer Alexander, former Office Manager for Enviro-Comp Laboratories, Inc., of Baton Rouge, La., was indicted on Aug. 10 on charges of making material false statements to a federal investigator and a federal prosecutor, and on charges of committing perjury before a federal grand jury.

Enviro-Comp sought accreditation by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) to perform water tests for clients who were required to meet state environmental regulations. Enviro-Comp's owner, Shawn Decareaux-Kilgarlin, was convicted and is currently imprisoned for knowingly making false statements in Enviro-Comp's log books and certification analyses about water testing for the purpose of misleading the LDEQ auditor. In addition, she directed Enviro-Comp's employees to falsify the company's log books and certification analyses. She also allegedly paid Ms. Alexander to provide false information to an EPA Special Agent and others investigating the case.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, LDEQ, the Louisiana Department of Justice and the Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baton Rouge.


Franklin D. Sales and Debon Sales, formerly of Milford, N.H., were charged with mail and wire fraud in an indictment unsealed on Aug. 16. The defendants owned and operated Consolidated Recycling, Inc. (CRI), a firm which was allegedly in the business of recycling fluorescent ballast waste.

The charges allege that the defendants accepted light bulb and light ballast wastes that included mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from school districts and government agencies in Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and elsewhere. The defendants allegedly falsely claimed that CRI had the equipment to recycle the wastes. The charges allege that CRI never purchased any recycling equipment and that the wastes were collected, stored and abandoned at locations in Hollis and Merrimack, N.H., and in Fitchburg, Methuen and Tyngsboro, Mass.

Mercury is a highly toxic substance that can cause severe neurological damage and PCBs have been identified as a cause of cancer. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison on each count plus fines.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the assistance of EPA Region I, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Concord, N.H.


Clean Air Act

  • September 15: Reformulated gasoline standards detailed under 40 CFR 80.78(a)(1)(v) expire until the following summer.
  • September 21: Existing pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities subject to the national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants for pharmaceuticals must comply with 40 CFR 63, subpart GGG.

Clean Water Act

  • September 21: Existing sources subject to effluent guidelines and standards for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry under 40 CFR 439 must meet pretreatment standards.