San Diego Gas and Electric Indicted in Illegal Asbestos Removal

Asbestos Insulation Covering Underground Pipe Was Illegally Removed

SAN DIEGO, California - January 23, 2006 - A federal grand jury has indicted San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), two of its employees, and a contractor on charges that they illegally removed asbestos from over nine miles of underground piping at the former Encanto Gas Holder Facility in Lemon Grove, California. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Pierson, the group violated the asbestos work practice standardsof the Clean Air Act when they used improper removal techniques in order to save time and money. The specific charges are: one count of conspiracy to unlawfully remove asbestos, three counts of unlawful removal of asbestos, and one count of making false statements.

SDG&E was getting ready to sell the Encanto facility. Although the company employees and the contractor knew that the coating of the piping contained asbestos, they told government inspectors that it did not, the indictment claims. The indictment also alleges that SDG&E improperly removed the asbestos-containing material, did not place it in a leakproof container, and falsely portrayed one of the defendants as a Certified Asbestos Consultant. SDG&E then compounded the problem by falsely reassuring Lemon Grove residents that the piping did not contain asbestos, the indictment states.

"By intentionally misleading government inspectors, the defendants made the regulators' already challenging job even more difficult, and potentially jeopardized the health and safety of the community," said U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commented: "This indictment sends the message that EPA will take action against those who put illegal financial gain ahead of human health, protection of the environment, and their obligations to obey the law."

Asbestos Exposure and Your Legal Rights

At Brayton Purcell, we are concerned about asbestos on the job, in the home, and in our environment. With our main office located in California, the asbestos attorneys at Brayton Purcell have been extensively involved in protecting the legal rights of those withasbestos diseases, including injured workers and their families for over 24 years. Many of our clients suffer from asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. We will provide a free evaluation of your potential case if you have been exposed to asbestos and think you may have developed an asbestos-related disease.