• U.S.

Environment: Bad News for Polluters

1 minute read

After four months of deliberation, a federal grand jury last week took action in Virginia’s notorious Kepone scandal, in which 70 people involved in the production of the pesticide were poisoned and the James River was polluted by the substance (TIME, Feb. 2). In what may well prove to be a landmark action, the jury indicted a chemical company, the owners of another chemical firm and the city of Hopewell, Va., on a record number of charges of violating federal antipollution laws.

Allied Chemical Corp., which developed and produced Kepone and later subcontracted its manufacture to a Hopewell firm called Life Science Products Co., was charged with 940 counts of discharging the chemical into the river. It was also charged with a single count of felonious conspiracy to circumvent Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Life Science and its two owners, Virgil Hundtofte and William Moore Jr., were charged with 153 counts of polluting the river. The town of Hopewell was named in three counts for discharging Kepone through its sewage-treatment plant and for failing to inform the EPA. If convicted on all counts, Life Science, Hundtofte and Moore could be fined some $3.8 million, the city of Hopewell $3.9 million and Allied Chemical $17 million.

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