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Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Asbestos Removal Violations

Release Date: 09/17/2003
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873 /

(09/17/03) On Sept. 4, Jo McCulloch pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland, to one Clean Air Act (CAA) felony count of violating the asbestos work practice standards for asbestos abatement activity. According to the plea agreement, McCulloch admitted that between approximately July 30, 1998 and Aug. 4, 1998 he owned and operated a commercial property in Albany, Ore. He also admitted that he was aware that renovation of the property involved the stripping and removal of asbestos-containing floor tiles. Nonetheless, he hired unskilled laborers to perform the work and, in doing so, failed to thoroughly inspect the premises for asbestos, failed to provide required notice of the asbestos abatement project, did not comply with required procedures for asbestos emission control, failed to have an appropriately trained representative on-site and failed to properly dispose of the asbestos-containing waste material. Improperly removing asbestos-containing material can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne and can expose workers to the inhalation of asbestos fibers which is a known cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as “asbestosis” and mesothelioma which is a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. When sentenced, McCulloch faces a possible maximum term of imprisonment not to exceed five years, a $250,000 fine, or both. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation, the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.