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LOUISIANA MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL CHEMICAL DISPOSAL

Release Date: 12/18/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1998
LOUISIANA MAN SENTENCED FOR ILLEGAL CHEMICAL DISPOSAL

James Lee Miller, of Bogalusa, La., was sentenced on Dec. 16, to serve 27 months in prison by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis for violating the Clean Water Act. Miller had previously been convicted of illegally discharging between 700 and 1,000 gallons of styrene monomer into a drainage ditch south of St. Louis in March. The chemical, which was illegally released from a semi-trailer truck driven by the defendant, flowed from the drainage ditch into Fourch A Du Clos Creek, and Establishment Creek, a tributary of the Mississippi River. The discharge caused the evacuation of more than 100 people from their homes and temporary closure of the Bloomsdale Elementary School, and killed approximately 10,000 fish in both creeks. Depending upon the degree of exposure, people who breathe styrene monomer vapors can develop symptoms that range from irritation of the eyes and lining of the respiratory system to significant respiratory and neurological illnesses. Human ingestion of styrene monomer can produce cancer, liver disease and blood disorders. The case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center, the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
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