McCollum Formally Requests Criminal Charges Against Plating, Inc. Owners
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today formally requested federal authorities to pursue criminal charges against the owners and responsible individuals at Plating, Inc., which abandoned toxic and dangerous chemicals in a residential neighborhood in St. Paul, necessitating a $1.6 million federal cleanup.
“The decision by the owner of Plating, Inc. to abandon 82 open vats and 76 drums of toxic chemicals is an environmental crime that must be prosecuted,” Congresswoman McCollum wrote in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. “There is no better example of the need for strict, effective, and uncompromising environmental enforcement by the EPA and the Department of Justice than pursuing federal criminal charges against the owner of Plating, Inc.”
Earlier this month, the EPA began a hazardous waste cleanup at the Plating Inc. site, an abandoned zinc and chromate plating facility, located at 888 N. Prior Ave. in St. Paul. Information from the EPA, including an action memorandum detailing the numerous violations and hazards at the site, is available here.
In addition to undertaking cleanup actions, the EPA has the responsibility under the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) and other federal laws to regulate and enforce safeguards on the transportation, storage, use, and disposal of hazardous chemicals and waste. Violations of the RCRA are investigated by the EPA and criminal charges are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. If convicted, violators can face jail time and hefty fines.
With today’s letter, Congresswoman McCollum formally requested that the EPA work with the U.S. Attorney’s office to conduct a full investigation and bring criminal charges against the responsible parties. A PDF copy of Congresswoman McCollum's letter can be found here.