News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Offense of Failure to Notify IEPA of Asbestos Removal

Criminal prosecutions of federal environmental laws are rare and are typically limited to situations where the defendant knowingly, intentionally, and willfully violated a particular environmental statute or regulation.  The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois recently announced that a man was charged with the felony offense of failure to notify regulatory authorities prior to removing asbestos material.  The defendant pled guilty to the charge and will be sentenced in June.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s press release, the defendant admitted that around February and March of 2015, he was the owner of a building formerly used as an elementary school.  During this time and during a renovation activity, the defendant caused the removal of a combined amount of material containing asbestos greater than 160 square feet.  Under such circumstances, he was required by law to notify regulatory authorities at least 10 working days prior to removing asbestos material. In this instance, the appropriate regulatory authority to have been notified was the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  The defendant admitted to knowingly having failed to provide the prior notification to IEPA.  The offense of failure to notify regulatory authorities prior to removing asbestos material carries up to a maximum of five years of imprisonment, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000.

This should serve as a reminder to all contractors that they should take compliance with environmental laws extremely seriously, because the penalties can be severe.


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