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Indybay Feature
Thu Mar 2 2017 (Updated 03/04/17)
The Health of the Bay Area Is at Stake Say Whistleblowers
Bay Area Air Quality Mngmt District Employees Fired For Exposing Destruction of Records
Two Bay Area Air Quality Management District employees charge in a new lawsuit announced in a February 22 press conference that they were bullied, retaliated against, and fired for exposing the illegal destruction of agency documents that are required to be maintained for a record of the violations of air pollution laws by corporations. Michael Bachmann was a manager of records at the agency and Sarah Steele was a contract employee working on retention of documents. Together, they say that they had tried to stop the destruction of the documents but that the agency's top managers continued to engage in destroying citations, compliance records, and settlement agreements for air pollution control violations by major companies like Chevron, Shell, Tosco, Pacific Steel Casting, and many other companies.

Attorneys for Steele and Bachmann released a set of records from 1990-91 involving Tosco refinery, which is now owned by Tesoro, that were saved by the pair. It shows a list of penalties against Tosco, including a $1,000 penalty reduced to $750 that involved an “excessive visible emission” at the acid plant. Major bay area polluters have been able to significantly reduce their fines because there is no record of previous violations and organized destruction of documents allowed these companies to limit their liability for violating air quality control standards over many decades.

photo Read More | photo Workers/Environmentalists Demand BAAQMD Executives Be Prosecuted For Destroying Records
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