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Louisiana Shipyard and Co-Owner Agree to Plead Guilty

Release Date: 12/01/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov

(12/01/04) William Barnett, Jr., co-owner and manager of Barnett Marine Inc., of Belle Chasse, La., pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The plea agreement calls for Mr. Barnett to serve three years probation. Barnett Marine agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) and pay a $100,000 fine and serve five years probation. Barnett Marine is a bankrupt company that repaired and repainted barges. The CWA violation involved the unlawful disposal of red dust into the Harvey Canal, and the SWDA violation involved the unlawful use of lead-contaminated sandblasting sand as fill material in the yard at the Barnett Marine facility. Contaminating waters can harm fish and wildlife. Lead is a toxic metal which can cause neurological damage, and materials contaminated with lead must be disposed of properly to avoid human exposure. The case was investigated by the Baton Rouge Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. It is being prosecuted by the New Orleans U.S. attorney’s office.