Tonawanda Coke is on the hook for millions of dollars after the Court of Appeals upheld the company’s convictions for violating federal pollution laws.
Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the 11 counts of violating the Clean Air Act and three counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Tonawanda Coke was found guilty by a federal jury in March 2013 and sentenced to pay a $12.5 million fine and five years probation during which they would have to fund two community service projects at a cost of $12.2 million. With the court’s ruling, Tonawanda Coke will now have to pay the fines.
“Today’s decision by the Court of Appeals represents a complete victory for the community and country,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “No one should be allowed to intentionally poison the public, and our prosecutions of both Tonawanda Coke and Mark Kamholz make this abundantly clear. Second, this Office will pursue all available means to remedy the harm caused by the actions of criminals of any type, whether individual or corporate.”
The company was releasing benzene into the air, a fact that was the plant’s environmental control manager, Mark Kamholz, helped to conceal.
He did not appeal his conviction of 11 counts of violating the Clean Air Act, one count of obstruction of justice and three counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Kamholz was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a $20,000 fine.
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