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McWane Inc., and Executives Found Guilty of Environmental Crimes Alabama Pipe Company Violated Clean Water Act

Release Date: 06/13/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: EPA, 202-564-4355 / DOJ, 202-514-2007 / TDD, 202-514-1888

(Washington, D.C.-- 06/13/05) McWane Inc., and its employees James Delk, Michael Devine, and Charles "Barry" Robison were found guilty June 10 by a federal grand jury of environmental crimes connected with the operation of McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company in Birmingham, Ala.

The jury found the company, Delk and Devine guilty of conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act by discharging industrial wastewater through storm drains into Avondale Creek in Birmingham in violation of their permit. McWane Inc., and Delk were also convicted of 18 counts of discharging pollutants into Avondale Creek between May 1999 and January 2001. Devine was also convicted of seven counts of discharging pollutants into Avondale Creek between May 1999 and January 2000. In a related count, McWane Inc., and Robison were convicted of making a false statement to the EPA.

McWane is a Delaware corporation, headquartered in Birmingham, which operates iron foundries at various locations across the country. Delk, 37, is a former vice president and general manager at the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company and now works at a McWane facility in New York. Robison, 65, of Birmingham, Ala., is the vice president for Environmental Affairs at McWane. Michael Devine, 44, is a former plant manager at McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company who now works for McWane in New Jersey.

"The defendants polluted Alabama's environment and engaged in a concerted effort to cover it up," said EPA's Acting Assistant Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "These convictions demonstrate that companies and their senior executives will be held responsible for environmental crimes."

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. Johnson said "the guilty verdicts reflect the Justice Department's unwavering commitment to enforce the nation's environmental laws and prosecute those who break them. Companies and corporate officials who put production and profits above the welfare of the public and the environment will be brought to justice."

Alice H. Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, added: "This verdict sends a clear message that corporate defendants as well as individuals will be held accountable for their criminal conduct in violating the Clean Water Act. I trust this conviction will result in greater efforts by 'corporate America' to prevent future pollution and provide cleaner water for the citizens of Alabama. The government will seek significant fines and custody for those convicted of these offenses."

Defendants Delk and Devine face a maximum sentence on the conspiracy count of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum sentence for an individual convicted of the Clean Water Act charges is a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day of violation and by imprisonment for not more than three years. For McWane Inc., the maximum penalty for the conspiracy and Clean Water Act charges is a fine of the greater of $500,000 or $50,000 per day of violation and probation of five years. On the false statement charge, the maximum penalty for McWane Inc., is a fine of $500,000 and five years probation, and the maximum penalty for Robison is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing has been set before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Propst on Oct. 25, 2005.

This case was investigated by EPA and FBI special agents and by investigators of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and Jefferson County Storm Water Management Authority.

Senior Trial Attorney Christopher J. Costantini and Trial Attorney Kevin Cassidy of the Environmental Crimes Section of DOJ and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey prosecuted the case.