Weekly Feature

2010-05-12 / Business

Business owner arrested for alleged illegal dumping

The owner of Peerless Environmental Control Inc., an East Amherst asbestos abatement contractor was arrested last week in connection with the alleged illegal dumping of more than five tons of asbestos-contaminated debris inside an abandoned warehouse in the City of Buffalo.

According to Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, Robert L. Bishop, 45, of Tonawanda Creek Road, was charged with endangering public health, safety or the environment in the third degree and criminal mischief in the second degree.

Cuomo said if convicted, Bishop faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

“People who try to cut corners by illegally dumping harmful materials like asbestos endanger the public and hurt the environment,” Cuomo said. “My office has no tolerance for polluters who fail to comply with the state’s stringent hazardous waste disposal laws.”

He said, according to court papers, that Bishop, while operating as an asbestos abatement contractor for various area construction projects, collected thousands of pounds of asbestos-contaminated waste and stored it in containers at a warehouse on West Avenue in the City of Buffalo.

“When Bishop was notified that the New York State Department of Labor’s Asbestos regulators wanted to inspect his facility, he paid some of his workers to haul the waste to a different building on Leslie Street in Buffalo,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the asbestos waste allegedly remained hidden for more than a year at the Leslie Street site until it was discovered by the state Department of Labor’s asbestos regulators. He said the site has since been cleaned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which removed more than five tons of asbestos-contaminated material at a cost of approximately $137,400.

Cuomo said an ensuing investigation by his office in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation resulted in the charges filed against Bishop.

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