Mcwane, Inc. Executive Sentenced For Committing Environmental Crimes

Charles Matlock, an executive with Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company, was sentenced in federal court today to 12 months and one day in prison and a $20,000 fine for violating the federal Clean Air Act, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency announced. Pacific States, a division of McWane Inc. located in Springville, Utah, manufactures cast iron pipe for the water and sewer industry.

On February 8, 2006, Judge Benson also sentenced McWane to pay a fine of $3 million—the largest criminal environmental fine in Utah—and serve a three-year period of probation, after it pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act. At that time, Matlock also pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act by rendering inaccurate a stack emissions test required under the Act.

“Protecting local communities from harmful air pollution depends upon honest reporting by regulated companies, and when senior corporate executives cheat on required tests, public health and the environment suffer,” said David M. Uhlmann, Chief of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section. “Today’s jail sentence of the former top official of McWane in Utah is further proof of the McWane legacy: a repeat offender that committed years of environmental and worker safety violations at facilities across the country.”

“Protecting the quality of life we enjoy in Utah is very important to residents of our state. Those individuals or companies who cause damage to the air quality of our state, putting residents at risk, can expect to be aggressively investigated and prosecuted,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for Utah Stephen J. Sorenson.

“Today’s sentencing of the former vice president and general manager of Pacific States Pipe Company underscores McWane’s lamentable record of serious environmental misconduct nationwide,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance. “The message should be clear that prosecutions will go as high up the corporate hierarchy as the evidence permits and we will hold senior managers of corporations accountable, as well as the corporation itself. All company employees should definitely think twice about knowingly breaking the law because they should clearly understand that they will face incarceration and fines for harming the environment and putting the public at risk.”

In November 2005, McWane, Matlock and another McWane employee were indicted for conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act by rendering inaccurate a September 2000 stack test; for making false statements in documents required under the Act; and for defrauding the United States. Matlock also was indicted for a separate violation of the Clean Air Act for rendering inaccurate the September 2000 stack test.

In 2001, 2002 and 2003, McWane submitted “Emission Inventory” documents that were based on the inaccurate September 2000 stack test. The Emission Inventory documents in turn falsely stated to the State of Utah that Pacific State’s emissions were at a level that McWane employees knew was not accurate.

In addition to the Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe company litigation, four other McWane divisions, including numerous individuals, have recently been convicted of or pleaded guilty to committing environmental crimes: Tyler Pipe Company of Tyler, Texas (March 2005); McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company of Birmingham, Ala. 

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