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Go directly to jail?

Cement company executive challenged to keep his word on Holcim's misdeeds in Texas

The August 31, 2000 issue of The Independent included a report report on a St. Lawrence-Cement sponsored tour of the Holcim plant in Midlothian, Texas. A review of that article two summers ago yields some damning statements, in light of recent revelations about that plant, for which SLC needs to take responsibility. (See article on heavy fines, below.)

Greenport project manager Phil Lochbrunner went along on the August 2000 tour to keep an eye on the Columbia County visitors (and maybe to visit some old friends in Midlothian). But he was confronted by Midlothian resident Sue Pope, who stated in the article that "You can have the best technology in the world, but management can break the rules and pay the fines and keep on polluting."

"Not so, countered Mr. Lochbrunner," according to the Independent. He then blustered: "Under federal regulations, 'anybody who does that goes to jail.'"

Well, the Holcim plant was fined $135,000 in the mid-90s -- a fact discovered by opponents shortly after the visit. Now it has been fined another $220,000 for not keeping its promises.

So the question to Mr. Lochbrunner is: Will he now recommend that his colleagues in Midlothian "go to jail," or was he just blowing more smoke?