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Alaska Man Pleads Guilty to Concealing Environmental Crime

Release Date: 6/21/2002
Contact Information: Luke Hester
(202) 564-7818

June 21, 2002
HQ R-124

Gary Hitchings, an officer and director of Technic Services Inc., an Alaska asbestos abatement contracting company, pleaded guilty on May 31 to misprison (illegal concealment) of a felony by failing to report a violation of the Clean Water Act. The violation involved the removal of asbestos from the Alaska Pulp Corp. in Sitka, Alaska.

Hitchings was responsible for assuring that all asbestos containing material at the facility was properly removed in accordance with environmental rules and regulations. During the removal, the defendant learned that slushy waste containing asbestos abatement waste was allowed to enter a drain system at the facility and flow directly into Silver Bay in violation of the Clean Water Act. However, Hitchings concealed the violation. Discharging contaminated slurry into surface waters can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life.

The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI with the assistance of the EPA Office of Air Quality, EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and the Alaska Department of Labor. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Anchorage.
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