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Salvage Project Owner Fined $10M Plus Jail for Asbestos Contamination

asbestos contamination

asbestos contamination

Though many people think that the risk of being exposed to asbestos is a relic from the past, the truth is that real dangers exist today. Where those who were exposed decades ago, and who are being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases today, were largely sickened as a result of their jobs, today we are at risk from asbestos that was used in construction and insulation years ago and which is still present in the homes where we live and the buildings in which we work. Strict guidelines have been put in place for addressing this dangerous carcinogen, and the EPA has established very specific rules for how asbestos is to be reported and handled during demolition and renovations, but unethical business owners exist today, just as they did in the past. When they are identified, they are swiftly brought to justice. Such was the case for Mike Sawyer, owner of a salvage project who was recently charged with contaminating a decommissioned factory site with asbestos. He was assessed a $10 million penalty, as well as a sentence of sixty months in jail for violating the Clean Air Act.

Sawyer is the owner of A&E Salvage, a company that was hired in 2006 to recover aluminum, steel, copper and other materials from the site of a rayon plan located in Tennessee. When demolition began, some of his employees took note of the fact that proper procedures were not being followed with regards to asbestos, and they reported it to the EPA. By 2008 the agency had reached an agreement with the company in which they stated that they would address their violations and obey the law in the future, but a year later the project was stopped by the agency because A&E had continued to violate the law. An inspection of the property determined that 300 acres had been contaminated, and the EPA spent over $16 million to clean it up.

Sawyer argued against the fine, but the 6th Circuit court affirmed the decision, pointing out that asbestos laws are meant to compensate victims “not only for physical injuries but also for solely economic harm” like that done to the EPA.

There are many different victims of asbestos. If you or someone you love has been harmed as a result of another’s negligence regarding asbestos, contact the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano today. We are committed to protecting the rights of victims and getting them the compensation they deserve.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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