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Two Wisconsin Men Charged with Illegal Asbestos Removal
Release Date: 12/17/2003
Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / email@example.com
(12/17/03) Michael L. Smith, owner of Smith Renovations, and Lawrence J. Williams were indicted on Dec. 10 for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. In 2002, Smith Renovations contracted with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mt. Horeb, Wis., to remove asbestos-containing ceiling and flooring materials. The indictment states that the defendants did use a licensed asbestos removal firm to remove the flooring. However, the indictment alleges that the defendants conspired and unlawfully removed the asbestos-containing ceiling material themselves without notifying an environmental agency, following federally-mandated asbestos removal procedures, and properly labeling asbestos-containing bags. Improperly removing asbestos can cause workers and others in the work area to inhale airborne asbestos fibers; which is a known cause of lung cancer, the lung disease “asbestosis,” and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. Each defendant was indicted on five counts, and if convicted faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 on each charge. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Madison, Wis. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in a court of law.