Texas Transportation Company and Officials Sentenced for Hazmat Violations
On July 21, 2010, Texas Oil and Gathering, Inc. (TOG), its' owner John Kessel, and operations manager Edgar Pettijohn, were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Houston, Texas, on one count of conspiracy to violate the Safe Drinking Water Act and one count of knowingly disposing of waste in violation of the Act. TOG was formerly authorized by the state to handle and transport used oil products. According to factual statements filed with the pleas, Kessel and Pettijohn directed the falsification of documents such as bills of lading and driver logs in order to illegally dispose of hazardous waste water at an injection well knowing the injection well was not permitted to receive hazardous wastes.
Kessel was sentenced to 5 years probation, ordered to perform 500 hours community service, ordered to pay a $40,000 fine and $200 special assessment. Pettijohn was sentenced to 5 years probation, ordered to perform 500 hours community service, and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment. TOG was sentenced to 3 years probation, ordered to pay an $80,000 fine which will be offset, in part, by the $40,000 fine ordered agains Kessel, in addition to a $200 special assessment.
This investigation was conducted jointly with the Environmental Protection Agency - Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from state environmental agencies. There are other potential defendants in the case and the investigation continues.