Man Sentenced to Prison for Violating US Clean Air Act

by , 06/24/11
filed under: News

Clean Air Act, Des Moines, Iowa, District Court, Asbestos, environmental law, pollution, green design, eco-design, sustainable design, Bobby Joe Knapp, EPA

A man in West Des Moines, Iowa faces prison time and huge fines for violating the Clean Air Act. After pleading guilty for conspiring to avoid Clean Air Act regulations while renovating a 10-storey building in downtown Des Moines between 2005 and 2008, a district court sentenced Bobby Joe Knapp to spend 41 months in prison. The judge also sentenced the former owner of the Equitable Building to perform 300 hours of community service, pay a $12,500 fine to the court, and pay an additional $200 for every victim of his environmental crime.

Mr. Knapp dumped construction waste in an uncovered dumpster, increasing the risk of asbestos-laden dust circulating in the air. He also failed to protect workers from asbestos exposure by denying them protective gear. Long since banned from building projects in almost every country in the world, asbestos can cause serious respiratory diseases and cancer. Convicting Mr. Knapp to prison for an environmental crime sets a powerful precedent.

“Ignoring the safeguards put into place to protect workers and the public from the risk of exposure to asbestos is inexcusable,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and sends a strong warning to anyone thinking of cutting corners to save money at the expense of people’s health.”


Image: Notions Capital

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  1. sammael June 25, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Real criminals?
    I think someone who endangers lives to make few bucks more (and protective gear is pretty damned cheap, so its really FEW bucks more) IS a real criminal.

  2. he June 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    The prison sentence is overkill. Probation/community service/ & a fine would have been plenty.
    The workers knew is was asbestos, they could of went to a hardware store and spent a few bucks for a mask…but they didn’t…….

    Their is a bunch of hazards in the construction industry…..if you don’t like it, change jobs.

  3. Tafline Laylin June 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    You don’t think jeopardizing people’s lives by exposing them to asbestos (which is very dangerous to human health) is a real crime?

    I wouldn’t want to be the doctor tasked with informing a patient they have cancer because one man was too lazy to dispose of his asbestos carefully?

    I think it’s great that the government is finally making it clear that environmental offenders (whether they pollute our air and give us lung cancer, our food, our oceans) will be dealt with seriously.

  4. lazyreader June 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    For all the people in jail in America, do we really think we need this guy in prison. Why not focus on real criminals. Why put him in prison when he can be made to pay restitution for it.

  5. brilang June 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Speaking of Asbestos, did you know that Canada still exports it to third world countries while it’s illegal to use in Canada? Nice huh?

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