- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Boston — Two men from Charlton have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with operating illegal solid and hazardous waste facilities in Worcester and Oxford, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Ronald Bussiere, age 69, his son, Curt Bussiere, age 45, and their company, the Oxford-based Patriots Environmental Corp., pleaded guilty last week in Worcester Superior Court to the charges of Operating/Maintaining a Solid Waste Facility without Obtaining the Required Regulatory Approvals (four counts each), Improperly Handling a Special Solid Waste (one count each) and Maintaining a Hazardous Waste Facility without the Required License from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (one count each). Ronald Bussiere and Patriots Environmental also pleaded guilty to the charge of Criminal Contempt (two counts each).
“Improperly handling hazardous and solid waste can cause serious harm to the environment and the health of workers and surrounding residents,” said AG Healey. “We will investigate and prosecute those who put public health and the environment at risk by ignoring laws governing the disposal and storage of hazardous waste.”
Following the plea, Judge Gavin Reardon Jr. sentenced the Bussieres to three years of probation, with detailed conditions governing Patriots Environmental Corp.’s hazardous and solid waste operations.
Ronald Bussiere is the president of Patriots Environmental and Curt Bussiere is the senior manager of the company, which is primarily involved in asbestos abatement and construction demolition projects in Massachusetts.
“All demolition contractors, and particularly those licensed to handle asbestos-containing materials, must conduct their projects in compliance with state regulations to protect public health and the environment,” said MaryJude Pigsley, director of the Central Regional Office of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “To that end, we are committed to maintaining a level playing field where demolition contractors follow the law and do not cut corners to win bids.”
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force, an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the AG’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the AG’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The Strike Force is overseen by AG Healey, MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm the state’s water, air, land or that pose a significant threat to human health, safety, welfare or the environment.
The defendants were indicted by a Worcester County Grand Jury in May 2016.
The Strike Force began an investigation into Patriots Environmental in December 2013 after MassDEP received a tip alleging numerous environmental violations at the company’s Oxford and Worcester facilities. The Strike Force obtained and executed search warrants at both facilities and confirmed many of the environmental concerns.
Ronald and Curt Bussiere did not have the required state approvals when they allowed asbestos-containing waste material to be stored at the Worcester facility and allowed construction and demolition waste to be stored and disposed of at both facilities. The defendants also allowed hazardous waste oil to be stored at the Oxford facility without the required license.
The Strike Force’s investigation also revealed that, at the time these alleged violations occurred, Patriots Environmental, and by extension Ronald Bussiere, were under a 2006 Suffolk Superior Court order, obtained by the AG’s Environmental Protection Division, requiring them to handle asbestos-containing components in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and to refrain from bringing construction and demolition debris to its Worcester facility, unless it had obtained written authorization from MassDEP or did so in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Bernadette Hayes and Division Chief David Clayton of AG Healey’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force. This case was investigated by detectives of the Massachusetts Environmental Police assigned to the AG’s Office, with assistance from MassDEP investigators Jen Macionus, Gregg Levins, Don Heeley, Nick Child, Steve Spencer, Tim Dame and Gary Dulmaine, and ESF Director Pamela Talbot.
Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.