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Marietta Industrial Enterprises ordered to pay fine for environmental permits

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MARIETTA, OH -

Marietta Industrial Enterprises, Inc., has agreed to pay a $37,500 fine and make a $12,500 community service payment for failing to report violations of environmental permits for its mineral processing operation, which is a felony.

Under the plea agreement, which still must be approved by U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley for the Southern District of Ohio, Marietta Industrial President William Scott Elliott could spend 48 hours in jail followed by five months and 28 days of house arrest on a misdemeanor charge of being an accessory after the fact.

The deal was announced Friday, Dec. 6 by Carter Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Scott J. Nally, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

"The Marietta, Ohio, company has agreed to perform 200 hours of community service, with at least 100 hours being personally performed by Elliott, in addition to a three-year probation term for the company, which must conduct an environmental audit of their facilities and correct any deficiencies identified in that audit," Stewart said in a news release issued Dec. 6. "These steps will ensure safety for the community and employees going forward."

Authorities say one of the company's manufacturing processes is crushing medium carbon ferromanganese alloy, referred to as medium carbon, in a mill line. Emissions from the mill lines are captured by equipment known as a baghouse using a large electric fan to ensure that air pollution from the facility is limited. Company employees, however, began turning off the fan when processing medium carbon sometime in 2006, they said.

Elliott learned in May 2009 that the baghouse fans were being turned off when medium carbon was crushed and put an end to the practice, authorities said.

Marietta Industrial's permit calls for the company to disclose any instances that the baghouse had not operated properly in its quarterly and annual reports to Ohio EPA, but no violations were reported.

The case was jointly investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio EPA, and the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division, all members of the Central Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Beeson and Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous prosecuted the case.