ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG FILES MOTION FOR CONTEMPT AGAINST WEST HAVEN ASBESTOS REMOVAL BUSINESS OWNER
James Pero in Violation of 2014 Court Judgment Ordering Remediation of Illegal Transfer Station(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today filed a motion for contempt against James Pero, the owner of a West Haven asbestos removal business who, for years, has maintained his property at 18 Helm Street as an illegal asbestos transfer station. Besides the trailers and containers full of asbestos, the site is strewn with other waste, including used tires and oil drums.
"This site is a threat to public health and the environment and must be remediated immediately. James Pero was ordered back in 2014 to remove all asbestos and waste from this site and to remediate the property. James Pero has not cleaned up his act. He has ignored the fine, refused to remediate the site, and continues to bring in new materials, which he has irresponsibly stashed all over his property in open containers and loose bags. We will prosecute this matter to the fullest extent to ensure compliance," said Attorney General William Tong.
“Today’s action by the Attorney General sends a clear message that this type of blatant disregard of environmental laws will not be tolerated,” said Katie S. Dykes, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner. “This is the result of a collaborative effort among the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Public Health and our department to ensure the environment and public health is protected and to hold the responsible party accountable.”
Pero was fined $32,000 in 2014 and ordered to "promptly" remove all asbestos waste from the site, including a 100 cubic yard trailer filled with asbestos waste. He was also required to retain a licensed environmental consultant, to submit a remediation plan, and document removal of all asbestos waste, solid waste and used oil on the site. Pero did none of these things.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recently conducted site inspections that indicate Pero continues to illegally operate. Evidence suggests Pero has brought new asbestos-containing waste material to the site. DEEP investigators observed asbestos and asbestos-containing material stored in unlocked trailers and open containers, although much of the asbestos is stored in trash bags, some of it is loose and scattered on the ground.
The motion for contempt urges the court to impose coercive remedies, including potential incarceration, to compel compliance and expedite remediation of the unacceptable conditions at the site.
Assistant Attorney Generals Michael Lynch and Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.