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Two Men Convicted of Illegal Asbestos Removal in the Virgin Islands

Release Date: 07/13/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Stacie Keller, 202-564-4355 /

(7/13/05) On June 30, Cleve Allen George of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dylan C. Starnes of Atlanta, Ga., were each convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas of violating the Clean Air Act by illegally removing asbestos and filing false air monitoring reports to the Virgin Islands Housing Authority and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. In January and February 2001, the defendants conducted a demolition at the Donoe Housing Community in the Virgin Islands. During this demolition, they violated federal asbestos workplace standards by using a power washer to strip thousands of square feet of asbestos-containing material from ceilings. The asbestos material then washed out over the ground and into sewers. Improperly removing such material can cause asbestos fibers to become airborne, and inhaling airborne asbestos is a cause of lung cancer, a lung disease known as "asbestosis" and mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal cavities. The case was investigated by the New York Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources with support from EPA's National Enforcement Investigations Center. It is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice and by the U.S. attorney's office for the District of the Virgin Islands.