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Contractor Jailed for Beach Asbestos

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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The owner of a South Carolina renovation company will spend six months in prison for contaminating a beach and oceanfront properties with asbestos-laden materials, authorities say.

David Braswell, of Little River, will also face six months of house arrest and three years of probation after his prison term for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act, according to an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Myrtle Beach
U.S. Air Force / Airman 1st Class Amber E. N. Jacobs

Prosecutors say contractor David Braswell allowed asbestos materials to contaminate a portion of Myrtle Beach, SC.

Braswell was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. He was sentenced Thursday (May 22).

Charges against Braswell’s company, Cool Cote LLC, were dropped because it is no longer in business, authorities said.

No Permits, No Protection

According to prosecutors, Braswell and his company began renovating a high-rise beachfront condominium complex in Myrtle Beach in 2009.

When he contracted for the work with Regency Towers, Braswell had been made aware that the condo's existing siding contained friable asbestos, authorities said.

However, Braswell neither obtained proper permits for the removal of asbestos nor took legally required precautions for handling the material, according to prosecutors.

Cool Cote employees removed the asbestos-containing siding without proper respiratory protection, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said.

Asbestos
USGS

Braswell failed to obtain proper permits for the removal of asbestos on the high-rise beachfront condominium renovation project and did not take legally required precautions for handling the material, authorities said.

“He directed workers to pressure-wash the material in violation of the work practice standards and, as a result, contaminated a local beach and adjacent properties,” said Maureen O’Mara, special agent in charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in South Carolina.

Condo residents were not notified of the asbestos hazards or provided with any environmental protection, reports said.

Notice to Others

EPA officials said the federal sentence should “serve notice that EPA and its partner agencies remain committed to protecting communities through tough enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws.”

The case was investigated by agents of the EPA and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control; Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim May of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

Braswell was ordered to report to prison within 30 to 60 days.

   

Tagged categories: Asbestos; Clean Air Act; Criminal acts; Enforcement; EPA; Maintenance + Renovation; Regulations

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (5/28/2014, 10:10 AM)

Another left-wing extremist job killing act by the EPA. There is no scientific proof linking asbestos to any illness... has anyone contacted Senator Inhofe about this act of tyranny?


Comment from M. Halliwell, (5/28/2014, 10:51 AM)

Uh, Andrew? I hope your comments are tongue in cheek...There is a lot of science linking asbestos to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma (the last illness is only related to asbestos exposure). The dangers have been known for a while...American insurance companies wouldn't insure (or jacked up premiums) for asbestos workers as early as 1918 and post-mortems on asbesots workers as early as 1900 found pulmonary fibrosis. Just because asbestos exposure won't kill you on the spot (like, say, H2S exposure can), doesn't mean it doesn't cause illness. There are reasons benhind the OHSA and EPA regulations regarding asbestos.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (5/29/2014, 8:16 AM)

Agreed. Airborne asbestos is a MAJOR health hazard, known for at least a century. Handled properly, the risk is mitigated to acceptable levels.


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