A New Jersey jury found Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. and four of its employees guilty of violating environmental and workplace safety laws. The verdicts follow a trial on charges filed in December 2003 that accused the McWane Inc. division of discharging oil into the Delaware River and concealing worker injuries and safety violations.
The company, one of the East Coast’s largest producers of ductile iron pressure pipe, promised to appeal the verdict.
The 34-count indictment charged that the company and the individuals conspired over eight years to pollute the air and water in violation of the federal Clean Air and Clean Water Acts; to expose employees to dangerous conditions; and to impede federal regulatory and criminal investigations. The company was named in all of the charges and faces a penalty of $500,000.
In addition to the company, the jury found four defendants guilty: plant manager John Prisque; maintenance supervisor Jeffrey Maury; finishing superintendent Craig Davidson; and former Atlantic States human resource manager Scott Faubert. Sentencing is scheduled for September, and each of the individuals faces possible prison time for the convictions. Former engineering manager Daniel Yadzinski was acquitted of three charges.
Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Div. also cited Birmingham, AL-based McWane for its “indifference towards the health and safety of their workers and a blatant disregard for the natural environment we all share.”
But, the Atlantic States emphasized that it is recognized as a “beyond compliance environmental leader” in the metalcasting industry, and recently became the first to implement control technology to substantially limit mercury emissions in advance of New Jersey Dept. of Ennvironmental Protection’s forthcoming (2010) standards.
“Lost among the publicity surrounding this trial have been the tremendous strides Atlantic State has made with its environmental management, workplace safety and community relations initiatives,” stated Mitchell Kidd, vice president and general manager. “The foundry, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary, has undergone considerable change in its long history, including many advances designed to make our plant the leader among foundries in the areas of safety and health.”