A Montana company accused of exposing employees at its Anaconda plant to high levels of arsenic admitted that it had violated the Clean Air Act and has agreed to settle a civil case with OSHA regarding related safety and health violations.
U.S. Minerals Inc. pleaded guilty Aug. 23 to one misdemeanor count of negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act and faces a maximum penalty of five years of probation and a fine that has yet to be determined.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, the federal government and U.S. Minerals will jointly recommend the company be placed on probation for five years and pay a $393,200 fine, according to a Department of Justice news release.
The government accused the company of negligently releasing inorganic arsenic into the air from July 2015 until February 2019 and exposing its employees to the hazardous air pollutant, which is known to cause serious health problems, including lung and skin cancer.
The agreement recommends U.S. Minerals, as part of its probationary conditions, implements a:
- national environmental health and safety plan for all of its facilities, and
- medical monitoring program for current and former employees exposed to elevated levels of arsenic during their work at the Anaconda plant.
The Anaconda plant has since ceased operations.
U.S. Minerals also agreed to resolve a related civil case with OSHA regarding 19 serious health and safety violations at the Anaconda plant and a $106,800 fine.
Under the agreement, the company will accept all citations as issued and pay the fine.