Official receives record prison term for environmental law violation

Two former officers of LCP Chemicals, a bankrupt subsidiary of the Hanlin Group, have received long sentences for operating the company's Brunswick, Georgia plant in violation of environmental laws. One officer received the longest US prison term handed down for environmental crimes.

One official, Christian Hansen, former Chairman of the Board of Hanlin, was sentenced to serve nine years in prison and pay a $20,000 fine – the longest US prison term handed down for environmental crimes. Alfred Taylor, former Plant Manager at LCP Chemicals, was sentenced to six and one-half years in prison.

Both defendants were convicted on one count of conspiring to operate the plant in violation of environmental laws, and one count of knowing endangerment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

In addition each defendant was convicted on a variety of other environmental offences. Workers at the Brunswick plant were repeatedly exposed to imminent danger of death and serious bodily injury by working conditions which repeatedly exposed them to possible chemical burns, electrocution, and poisoning from inhalation of mercury vapours and from other contacts with mercury-contaminated and corrosive wastes. LCP manufactured chlor-alkalai bleach, caustic soda, hydrogen gas and hydrochloric acid.

In the process, the defendants caused mercury and chlorine to be released into Purvis Creek. Cleanup at the LCP site has cost approximately $55 million so far, and additional cleanup of sediments, if feasible, could cost an additional $100 million.

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