State prison for Lower Windsor Twp. scrapyard owner
The owner of a Lower Windsor Township scrapyard must go to state prison for improperly storing hazardous waste at his business.
Jessie L. Kline Sr., 62, of Manor Road, was convicted by a jury July 15 of unauthorized processing of hazardous waste — a second-degree felony — and four misdemeanor counts of unlawful conduct under Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Management Act.
He owns Salvage Management Inc. at 1900 Manor Road in Lower Windsor Township. The business was an automotive and nonferrous metal recycling operation that accepted recyclables and unwanted vehicles, which were crushed, court documents state.
On Thursday, Kline was sentenced to two to four years in state prison and ordered to report to prison Sept. 23, court records state.
Defense attorney Eugene Campbell said the state Department of Environmental Protection has a statute that makes the two- to four-year sentence mandatory.
Health problems: He confirmed his client is in poor health.
"It's going to be difficult" for Kline being in prison with his medical issues, Campbell said.
The attorney said he and Kline are weighing post-conviction options but will likely file an appeal.
Campbell said the defense at trial to accusations that Kline was doing nothing to clean up the scrapyard was that Kline "was making the best effort he could, between his illness and the house he lived in burning down."
Kline had entered into a consent decree to clean up the site, and a jury found he did not follow through.
"He did do some of the things that he was required to do," Campbell said. "It's difficult to determine exactly what they want. He has a contractor that tried to come up with a plan to classify and remove drums (of waste), and DEP basically said it wasn’t good enough."
The background: Agents with attorney general's environmental crimes unit began investigating in August 2014 after receiving a state DEP referral alleging "the long-term illegal disposal of solid waste, including containers of hazardous waste," at his business, court documents state.
DEP officials told investigators the agency had a history of problems with Salvage Management, including illegal piles of 50,000 to 70,000 tires, contaminated soil and municipal waste, documents state. A DEP inspector reported learning of 50 to 60 drums containing unknown materials that are, or were, being stored in box trailers on the site, documents state.
No permit: It was determined that Kline never obtained a state permit to process, store, treat or dispose of solid waste at his business, according to the Attorney General's Office. Subsequent to that determination, the state issued a compliance order, and in 2009 a consent order and agreement was filed, documents state.
But the consent agreement did little to improve conditions at the scrapyard, according to prosecutors.
In June 2012, Salvage Management lost its operating permit from Lower Windsor Township, according to documents.
In June 2014, DEP ordered Kline to begin doing "hazardous waste determinations on the contents of drums located throughout the property," documents state, and in July 2014 DEP ordered him to remove all waste from the Salvage Management site within three months.
Subsequent DEP inspections determined that Kline wasn't complying with the order, documents state.
House fire: Kline has had other recent troubles as well.
His home — which he said he built himself in 1982 — burned down Sept. 2, 2014.
The flames and heat set off ammunition that was stored in the home, East Prospect fire officials have said, and there were concerns that propane bottles stored in the basement could explode. Because of that, firefighters simply battled the blaze from outside, officials have said.
At the time, Kline told The York Dispatch that Salvage Management Inc. was directly behind his home and that the property was being sold.
He indicated at the time that he was struggling with health issues.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.