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Environmental Crime - Case Studies Of Small Companies And Individual Environmental Crimes

montana phosphorous epa plant

The EPA regularly issues reports of environmental crime cases just like the DOJ. Information on the following two cases was released on May 5, 2004.

Rhodia, Inc., was sentenced on two counts of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act on April 29, 2004. Rhodia, headquartered in Cranbury, New Jersey, operated a phosphorous manufacturing plant in Silver Bow, Montana. The Silver Bow plant manufactured phosphorous from 1986 until 1996. Following closure of the plant, phosphorous waste was illegally stored at the facility.

Posing a risk to human and environmental health, phosphorous is highly flammable and can catch fire when exposed to air. Rhodia agreed to pay a fine of $16.2 million, plus $1.8 million to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. It was put on five years of probation and required to cleanup the site.

Illustrating federal and state cooperation, the EPA's agents of the Criminal Investigation Division from the Denver area and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality worked together to investigate the Silver Bow plant. They were assisted with legal and technical support by the EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center and its offices in Helena, Montana, and Denver. Prosecution was carried out by the DOJ's U.S. attorney's office in Missoula, Montana.

An individual, David E. Ortiz from Grand Junction, Colorado, was convicted under the Clean Water Act and sentenced on April 28, 2004, to one year in prison and payment of a $2,000 fine. Ortiz was associated with Chemical Specialties, a company that produces propylene glycol, an aircraft deicing chemical. In 2002 Ortiz released industrial wastewater containing propylene glycol into the Colorado River, which killed numerous fish. The EPA's Denver office and the National Enforcement Investigations Center investigated the crime; it was prosecuted by the DOJ's U.S. attorney's office in Denver.


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