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Contractor sentenced to prison for environmental crime

Release Date: 05/22/2014
Contact Information: EPA – Davina Marraccini, 404-562-8293 or marraccini.davina@epa.gov DOJ – Jim May, 803-929-3000 or Jim.h.may@usdoj.gov

ATLANTA – United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that David Braswell was sentenced in federal court in Florence, South Carolina, for violation of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7412. United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence sentenced Mr. Braswell to six months in prison, six months house arrest, three years supervised release and a $10,000.00 fine.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing in October established that the defendant ran CoolCote, a construction and renovation company in the Myrtle Beach area. The defendant was contracted to remove and replace siding on a high rise beach front condominium complex in Myrtle Beach. The defendant was made aware that the existing siding contained asbestos material and agreed to do the job for a lower price. The defendant did not provide the proper protection to his employees or obtain the proper permits to allow for the removal of asbestos.

United States Bill Nettles stated: "The United States Attorney's Office is committed to protecting the citizens of South Carolina, our land, our water, and our air from contamination. Our office will continue to prioritize the environmental work we do with both federal and state agencies, to ensure these cases are brought to the forefront. I ask that you report any violations to the EPA at (800)241-1754 or http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violations."

"The defendant was hired to renovate a beach-front condominium building which he knew contained asbestos in the exterior surface coating,” said Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in South Carolina. “Instead of removing the asbestos containing material legally and safely, he directed workers to pressure wash the material in violation of the work practice standards and as a result, contaminated a local beach and adjacent properties. Today’s sentence should serve notice that EPA and its partner agencies remain committed to protecting communities through tough enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws.”

The case was investigated by agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Assistant United States Attorney Jim May of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

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