Asbestos Claim- Environmental Asbestos Removal and Cleanup
Old Wailuku Post Office sealed off for Asbestos Removal.
Asbestos abatement (removal of asbestos) has become a thriving industry in the United States. Strict removal and disposal laws have been enacted to protect the public from airborne asbestos. The Clean Air Act requires that asbestos be wetted during removal and strictly contained, and that workers wear safety gear and masks. Over the last ten years, the federal government has prosecuted dozens of violations of the Act and violations of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) related to the operations. Often these involve contractors who hire undocumented workers without proper training or protection to illegally remove asbestos. Contractors who ignore safety regulations in removing asbestos commit an environmental crime that exposes countless people to potentially fatal and excruciatingly painful lung diseases.
W. R. Grace and Company faces fines of up to $280 million for polluting the town of Libby, Montana. Libby was declared a Superfund disaster area in 2002, and the EPA has spent $54 million in cleanup. Grace was ordered by a court to reimburse the EPA for cleanup costs, but the bankruptcy court must approve any payments.
On January 11, 2006, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., two of its employees and a contractor were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that they violated safety standards while removing asbestos from pipes in Lemon Grove, California. The defendants were charged with five counts of conspiracy, violating asbestos work practice standards and making false statements. If convicted the workers face five-year prison terms and a $250,000 fine for each violation. San Diego Gas & Electric faces fines of $2.5 million.
On December 12, 2004, New York father-and-son owners of asbestos abatement companies were sentenced to the longest federal jail sentences for environmental crimes in U.S. history. The crimes related to a 10-year scheme to illegally remove asbestos. They were convicted on all 18 counts of conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, and actual violations of the Clean Air Act and Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The RICO counts included obstruction of justice, money laundering, mail fraud and bid rigging, all related to the asbestos cleanup. The son was sentenced to 25 years in prison, forfeiture of $2 million in illegal proceeds from RICO activities, and restitution of $23,039,607 to his victims. The father was sentenced to 17 & 1/2 years in prison, forfeiture of $1.7 million in illegal proceeds, and restitution of $22,875,575 to his victims.
On April 2, 1998, three men were indicted in a conspiracy to use homeless men for illegal asbestos removal from an aging Wisconsin manufacturing plant. Then-US Attorney General Janet Reno said, "Knowingly removing asbestos improperly is criminal. Exploiting the homeless to do this work is cruel."