Three Florida men arrested dumping asbestos

Winter Haven, Florida ( – News Report) – Do you ever drive by litter such as fast food bags, coke cans and papers and wonder how anyone could have the audacity to physically open their window and toss it out? This happens all the time across America’s highways and green areas. It is confusing how those who litter barely receive a fine, if they are even caught in the first place. What is even more mind-boggling is how large factories and plants dump their wastes into the rivers, lakes, oceans and soils without a second thought.

This is exemplified by the actions of Ronnie Lee Spears, 35, manager of the Florida Environmental Compliance Corporation, when he deliberately instructed his employees to dump at least 43 truckloads of asbestos tiles into the Green Swamp. Fees are generally applied for the proper removal and disposal of asbestos. Spears decided on his own accord, that he did not want to pay these fees and therefore decided to illegally dump the waste into an animal and plant infested marshland. Reports said that he saved himself approximately $10,540 in fees. Why is it always about the money? How can that be more important than the future of our planet?

This time, the offenders were caught; and rightfully so. Spears has been charged with 43 counts of felony dumping for commercial purposes. The property owner, Warren Gregory Gay, 58, was also arrested and charged with storage of solid waste without a permit and failure to comply with an environmental rule. Another was a Florida Environmental Compliance Corporation employee – Thomas Barnhill, 44, – who arranged for the dumping to occur on Gay’s property. He was charged with three counts of felony dumping for commercial purposes. Was it worth it? Probably not since they are being checked into the Polk County Jail.

To clean up their mess, the company has removed all of the tiles from the swamp and properly disposed of them. They plan to restore the wetlands, with their funds. We must ensure that offenders are adequately punished for dumping, maybe the companies should have to submit a report to the EPA or the county division of the like, proving that they safely got rid of the harmful substances. If these measures are not taken, “America the beautiful” might not have its spacious skies or amber waves of grain for much longer.

Written By: Jana Simard – Legal News Reporter

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