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FORMER HERAEUS METAL PROCESSING INC. MANAGER SENTENCED FOR FALSIFYING RECORDS REQUIRED BY CLEAN AIR ACT
Release Date: 04/16/2009
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Knoxville, TN – April 16, 2009) - Brent Anderson, a former operations manager for Heraeus Metal Processing, Inc. (Heraeus), was sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty to making a false material statement regarding the operation of air pollution control equipment at the company’s metal processing plant in Wartburg, TN. The sentence was imposed by Judge Thomas Phillips in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Knoxville on April 15, 2009.
Previously, on January 21, 2009, Heraeus pled guilty to the same charge of falsifying information under the Clean Air Act and was sentenced to pay a fine of $350,000 and serve 18 months of probation.
In late 2004 and early 2005, Heraeus constructed a precious metals refinery in Wartburg. Under the New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration (NSR/PSD) requirements of the CAA, the company had applied for and received a construction permit which governed the operations of the facility’s baghouse and scrubber systems. Scrubber and baghouse systems are pollution control devices which reduce the amount of dust and other pollutants that are emitted from the facility. The company was required to submit an annual report to TDEC which included operating parameters data about the operation of the baghouse and scrubber systems and were recorded in logbooks.
A state/federal investigation found that between October 2004 and a least February 2005, no simultaneous logs were maintained by the Wartburg facility for either the baghouse or the scrubber system as required by the permits. Instead, in late February 2005, Anderson created a false baghouse pressure drop log for the facility and falsified the initials of other employees as the operators of record. Additionally, in February 2005, Anderson directed a subordinate employee to retroactively create a log for the scrubber system. The false reports were submitted to TDEC with Heraeus’s annual report in April 2005.
“It is not enough for a company to merely apply for a NSR/PSD permit, it is essential that it run its operation legally,” said Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement office in Atlanta. “EPA and the State of Tennessee must have accurate information about pollution emissions in order to protect the public, and companies and their managers who submit false information or bogus data will be prosecuted.”
The investigation was conducted by the East Tennessee Environmental Crimes Task Force, which included law enforcement personnel from the EPA Criminal Investigation Division (EPA-CID), EPA Office of Inspector General (TVA-OIG), TDEC, and Tennessee Valley Authority Office of Inspector General (TVA-OIG). The case was prosecuted jointly by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.