True tale. A company’s environmental manager was found guilty of 11 counts of violating the Clean Air Act (CAA) and three counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The offenses resulted from the company’s facility releasing coke oven gas containing benzene via an unreported pressure relief valve. Another RCRA no-no was mixing coal tar sludge, a listed hazardous waste, on the ground without a required permit to treat, store and dispose of it. Along with more than $200 million in fines, the charges carried a maximum combined penalty of up to 75 years in prison.
What else can happen?
When a company is found guilty of criminal acts for non-compliance, enforcement officials can make them surrender assets and other financial resources. The punitive and legal costs of a criminal charge can be equally crushing. And if a business’s leaders or employees are charged with criminal behavior, they’re looking at jail time, paying legal fees, and likely saying farewell to their career.
Section 2: Criminal Charges is a reminder for compliance responsibility. You know, guardrails to protect your business and your EHS team. Or call it your Stay Out of Jail Free card.