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Environmental Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in environmental programs and policies. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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October 10, 2020

The owners of Keystone Biofuels Inc., Ben Wootton and Race Miner, were sentenced to approximately 5.5 years imprisonment each and they and Keystone were ordered to pay restitution and fines totaling $9.23 million to the IRS and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection following their convictions at trial for charges relating to their renewable fuels scam.  The defendants falsely claimed that they were able to produce biodiesel that permitted them to create renewable fuel credits known as RINs; then then sold both the non-qualifying fuel and the fraudulently-created RINs.  In addition, Keystone claimed federal tax refunds under the IRS Biofuel Mixture Credit program, creating false books and records to conceal the non-qualifying, and in some cases non-existent, fuel.  DOJ

A horrifying cancer cluster story emphasizes the need for more environmental whistleblowers

Posted  10/8/20
By Sarah “Poppy” Alexander
a waste barrel zoomed-in of a sticker saying "HAZARDOUS WASTE"
Mother Jones recently published a harrowing account of a scientific mystery—why did a number of otherwise healthy young women develop a rare eye cancer in the Lake Norman region of North Carolina?  Through a detailed and nuanced portrait of the women, their families, and a regional fight for justice and accountability, the story’s author, Arielle Emmett, makes clear that no government regulator, independent body,...

September 14, 2020

German automaker Daimler AG and its U.S. subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC will pay $1.06 billion and undertake a recall valued at $436 million to resolve claims that they violated the Clean Air Act and California law in allegedly manufacturing and selling diesel automobiles between 2009 and 2016 that had undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices and defeat devices.  These devices caused the vehicles to appear to pass emissions requirements during testing despite the fact that during ordinary usage the vehicles produced NOx emissions above compliant levels.  The recall and repair program requires defendants to bring the vehicles into compliance with applicable emissions standards by removing all defeat devices from the affected vehicles, replacing hardware, and updating software.  The total monetary settlement consists of $875 million in civil penalties, $70.3 million in other penalties, and $110 million to fund mitigation projects in California.  Defendants also agreed to implement corporate compliance reforms.  DOJ; CA

Natural Disasters Expose the Unnatural Ones Too

Posted  08/28/20
By Sarah “Poppy” Alexander
climate change image of world
As the Gulf coast digs out from Hurricane Laura, one particular industry’s history of avoiding government oversight and obligations is going to make recovery a lot worse and much more dangerous.  The stretch of land on either side of the Texas-Louisiana border is full of petrochemical companies large and small.  These companies have successfully lobbied for relief from regulation, all the while taking significant...

August 6, 2020

Following his conviction at trial on charges to defraud the EPA and IRS, David Dunham, who had ownership interests in Smarter Fuel LLC and Greenworks Holdings LLC, was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $10.21 million.  Dunham fraudulently applied for, received, and sold over $50 million in EPA, IRA, and USDA credits and payments for producing biofuels that he, in fact, did not produce and, in many instances, had never possessed in the first place.  DOJ

July 17, 2020

Monsanto will pay $52 million to the District of Columbia to resolve claims that the company sold PCBs for nearly 50 years, damaging the District’s natural resources and putting the health of residents at risk, despite knowing that the chemicals would pollute waterways, kill wildlife, and cause significant health problems in humans.  A majority of the settlement funds will be dedicated to environmental clean-up of District waterways, including the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers.  DC

June 24, 2020

Monsanto will pay $95 million to resolve a lawsuit brought by the State of Washington alleging that the company produced PCBs for decades while hiding what they knew about the toxic chemicals’ harm to human health and the environment. PCBs have been found in bays, rivers, streams, sediment, soil and air throughout Washington, with more than 600 suspected or confirmed contamination sites.  WA

Another “Magic Pipe” Down the Drain: Whistleblower Tips Lead to Guilty Plea in Ocean Dumping Case

Posted  03/19/20
By Jessica T. Moore
M/T Zao Galaxy from DOJ files
Whistleblowers and an alert Coast Guard examiner exposed the illegal ocean-dumping of unfiltered bilge water by Singapore shipping company Unix Line PTE. The company pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) after a conscientious crew member slipped a note reading “magic pipe” and “damage marine environment” to the  examiner inspecting the ship M/T Zao Galaxy.  Another crew...

March 2, 2020

A man in Colorado who was part of a tax fraud scheme involving renewable fuel credits has been sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison and ordered to pay $7.2 million in restitution.  Along with co-conspirators, Matthew Taylor created a fake company, Shintan Inc., that they then used to seek out and obtain over $7.2 million in tax credits for renewable fuel that Shintan never actually produced.  The fraud ran from 2010 to 2013 and personally netted Taylor about $4.5 million.  DOJ

February 13, 2020

Mining company Atlantic Richfield agreed to undertake or finance $150 million in cleanup of mining-related contamination as part of the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit consent decree, subject to court approval.  DOJ
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