On March 28th, 2013 twelve jurors found Tonawanda Coke and its environmental control manager guilty of 14 criminal charges violating the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The trial included testimony from over 30 witnesses, many former employees, and lasted over a month.
This landmark verdict is only the second time in US history that a company has been indicted and found guilty under the Clean Air Act – and has set precedent for a number of environmental cases to come.
As Judith A. Enck, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, said to the Buffalo News,
“The verdict against Tonawanda Coke Corporation and Mark L. Kamholz sends a strong message that companies and individuals can’t simply ignore environmental law and disregard people’s health.The company faces up to $220 million in fines and Mr Kamholz up to 75 years in jail. A historical case, no doubt.
I never thought in a million years that the air sample my neighbors and I took with the “bucket” several years ago would have lead to this. But it did!
Never underestimate the power of a couple of committed and impassioned citizens to affect change. We did it, and I truly believe others can too.