September 3, 2014

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The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina continues to pursue criminal prosecutions for violations of environmental protection laws.

On August 21 an Anderson County man, Scott Farmer, was sentenced to three years in federal prison for violations of various air pollution laws.  Farmer was involved in demolishing a former Anderson textile mill in order to salvage scrap metal.  The old mill contained asbestos, a cancer-causing pollutant, and Farmer was repeatedly warned by state officials to cease demolition.  Instead of heeding the warnings, Farmer continued to have workers demolish the mill—sometimes in the middle of the night—and failed to take proper precautions to protect the workers.  Read more about this story in this article, which appeared in The State newspaper.  This case was not the first this year in which a South Carolinian was jailed for violating air pollution laws.  As we reported in May, A Myrtle Beach contractor was sentenced to six months in prison and other penalties for asbestos-related violations.

On August 29 two men were sentenced in federal court in Charleston for violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  The men admitted to setting dozens of traps to kill hawks and owls on an 8,000-acre hunting plantation in Jasper County, South Carolina.  The men were attempting to improve the quail-hunting on the plantation by killing Red-tail Hawks and Great Horned Owls, both of which are native to South Carolina and feed on quail. These birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and permits must be issued before they can be killed.  Penalties for the men included probation, community service, a ban on trapping, and a fine. In addition, the hunting plantation will pay a $250,000 restitution, which will be divided among local animal charities.  Read the release about this case from the United States Attorney’s office here.