Project Monitor and Abatement Supervisor Plead Guilty To Conspiring to Violate Asbestos Regulations
In spite of the fact that asbestos exposure over a long period of time can prove disastrous, there are cases piling up where authorities are found violating the laws meant to regulate the exposure of asbestos.
In one such related case, as many as 2 people were found guilty under the US act of asbestos exposure law. It all happened between years 2015 and 2016 when Madeline Alonge (27) and Kristofer Landell (36) were found responsible to direct abatement workers under their supervision to finally make use of unlawful methods for removing asbestos.
The contract was to remove asbestos from a former IBM site in Kingston which is now in the TechCity. They were found to have used all the illegal methods to remove asbestos without taking any precaution.
You will be surprised to know that the entire facility has a capacity of over 4 lakh square feet of asbestos containing material, also known as RACM.
It also contained an additional 6 thousand feet of RACM pipe wrap. After the site was handed over to a supervisor from a asbestos abetment company simply oversaw loads of abatement workers who were indulged in removing asbestos illegally.
Out of them, Landell held a NY license to allow working as a person who was appointed to inspect all the compliance according to the state and federal regulations. He was finally hired as a principal project monitor to work on the site.
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Not only that, Landell was also held responsible for conducting the process of air monitoring. It was primarily done to ensure that asbestos fibers were not released into the atmosphere. It's most likely becomes the reason of asbestos exposure, especially when they are touched or disturbed in an unprofessional manner.
Now, as per the court documents, both the individuals were held responsible to failing their duties that were assigned on the construction site. And because of this New York (NY) court immediately issued a plethora of notices to them for all the violations.
But nobody cared about these notices that were issued from the court. The owner Stephanie Laskin along with the abatement supervisors Gunay and Alonge Yakup continued to instruct all the workers to continue remove asbestos in an illegal way.
Like, they gave instructions to remove RACM in a dry state that produced visible and clear asbestos emissions into the atmosphere. They also directed the process of asbestos removal in such areas that were not even properly sealed with barriers known as “critical barriers.
These barriers are basically designed to prevent the exposure of asbestos outside a work site or construction site. Now, one of these conspirators named Landell instructed all the illegal work to continue under his supervision. At the same time, he also failed to conduct the very important inspection which is known as air monitoring of the area.
In short, Landell not only allowed illegal practices to continue but also failed in many other ways like controlling air monitoring, conduct “final air clearances,” these are actually required by the New York (NY) regulations.
Fine air clearances are basically meant to ensure that a particular area is clean and safe from the dangers of asbestos fibers that often get mixed in the air at the time of work.
The court has now charged all the defendants like co-conspirators. This happened in spite of them taking training of the asbestos removal by following all the precautionary measures.
Jean E. Williams, who's the acting Attorney General, stated that the pleas that were submitted are so crucial as they are basically reflecting criminal violation of the clean air act. They have also violated the law of third party project and have therefore failed to maintain the compliance.
This is what he stated, “The pleas entered today are especially important because they address not only criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, but also the criminal circumvention of the third party project and air monitor systems designed to ensure compliance,”
Tyler Amon, who's the special agent of Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stated, “Today’s plea agreements again reflect the serious consequences of the failure of these defendants to comply with EPA’s regulations that protect public health from asbestos, a dangerous human carcinogen,” he said.
“These criminal acts endanger workers and the community and cost the taxpayers substantial monies in cleanup costs. EPA commends the Justice Department prosecutors for vigorously prosecuting this environmental crime case.” he further stated.
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Well, the case is too simple. Both of them are charged for overseeing the effect of asbestos exposure in the environment. This is not the case of negligence but a case of conspiracy where Landell is held responsible to direct all the illegal work to happen under his supervision.
In another development of this case, Osterhoudt is known to have taken the criminal responsibility to re-hire the well known A2 Environmental Services even after knowing the facts about them. As you might be aware of, EPA has already determined and ruled that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.
And so, there needs to be a proper supervision, especially when handling asbestos and related products. Now, both Alonge and Landell have entered their respective pleas for unlawfully violating the federal conspiracy statute.
As per the source, McAvoy happens to be the Hon. Judge who's looking at the case in Binghamton, NY. The source says that sentencing will take place after three to four months and may happen anywhere in the month of October.
If charges against them are proved, they may face a jail term up to 5 years along with a $250,000 criminal fine.
As far as we know these charges are basically meant to conspiracy allegations. They were first entered by Laskin who's known to have owned A2 Environmental Solutions. The case has been investigated by some special agents of EPA (Environment Protection Act).
Both Gary N. Donner and Todd W. Gleason from the ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section are known to have prosecuted the case in the company of Chloe Harris.
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