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Freedom Industry Owners Plead Guilty to West Virginia Spill

On March 17th, the ABC News online service picked up the following AP Wire story…
“Two former owners of Freedom Industries pleaded guilty on Monday to environmental violations stemming from last year’s Charleston chemical spill that prompted a temporary tap water ban for 300,000 residents.
At separate hearings, William Tis, 60, and Charles Herzing, 64, entered the pleas to causing an unlawful discharge of a coal-cleaning agent into the Elk River.  Each faces up to a year in prison when sentenced June 22. They also face fines of $25,000 per day per violation, or $100,000 — whichever is greater……Plea hearings are scheduled Wednesday for Freedom environmental consultant Robert Reynolds and tank farm plant manager Michael Burdette, and on March 23 for the company itself.  All are charged with Federal Clean Water Act violations and are expected to plead guilty.
Former Freedom owner Dennis Farrell and former President Gary Southern face trial later this year on charges related to the spill.  In addition, Southern faces charges related to Freedom’s bankruptcy.  Freedom filed for the protection eight days after the Jan. 9, 2014, leak.  West Virginia American Water uses the Elk River for its water supply less than 2 miles downstream, and the spill prompted a tap water ban for several days in nine counties until the system was flushed out.  In addition to their ownership in the company, Tis was Freedom’s secretary and Herzing was a vice president, both until 2013.”
The article goes on to say…
“An FBI affidavit says Freedom knew about critical flaws at its Charleston plant but never dealt with them. Federal prosecutors have said the tank conditions ‘put an entire population needlessly at risk’.”
For the complete story, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/freedom-owners-set-plea-hearings-spillcase-29665700.