Tonawanda Coke, Manager Guilty of Violating Federal Law

March 28, 2013 Updated Mar 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon
By Kendra Eaglin

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March 28, 2013 Updated Mar 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - The Tonawanda Coke Corporation and its Manager of Environmental Control have been found guilty on more than a dozen counts of violating federal law.

The jury has been listening to a massive lawsuit against Tonawanda Coke Corporation and Mark Kamholz, the Manager of Environmental Control, for about a month.

The indictment include 19 charges.

Both Tonawanda Coke and Kamholz were found guilty on 11 Clear Air Act violations that date back to 2005.

Many of those counts step back to a valve that sent coke oven gasses into the air.

They were also found guilty of three counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act between 1998 and 2009. These charges step back to two large deteriorating tanks that stored benzene.

Benzene is a chemical known to be linked to cancer. A New York State Department of Health study found high levels of cancer and birth defects in regions near the Tonawanda Coke Plant.

Kamholz was also found guilty of obstruction of justice. The indictment charged him with having Tonawanda Coke employees cover up gasses emitting into the air during an EPA inspection.

Sentencing will be heard July 15th.

Kamholz faces up to 20 years in federal prison for obstruction of justice.

He, along with Tonawanda Coke, face hundreds of millions of dollars in fines.

Defense attorneys have up to 14 days to file for an appeal.