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Arrests Made in Connection with Metro North Fuel Spill

May 1, 2008

The Westchester County Department of Public Safety today filed criminal charges against the Metro-North Railroad and one of its supervisors in connection with a fuel spill at the Harmon Yard in Croton-on-Hudson.

The charges follow an investigation by the county police Environmental Security Unit into a 17,000-gallon spill that occurred on March 29 at the railroad’s Harmon Yard. The investigation revealed that a pipe, which leads to a holding tank system designed to contain such a spill, had been disconnected.

“Protecting the environment and our natural resources is one of our most important responsibilities,” said County Executive Andy Spano. “The Environmental Security Unit, which I created, is one of the key ways we accomplish this.”

Metro-North and its employee are each charged with one count of Endangering Public Health, Safety or the Environment in the 4th Degree, a misdemeanor under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. The charges were filed after consultation with the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.

The employee who was charged is Kenneth McHale, 56, assistant director of environmental services and compliance. The corporation and McHale were issued appearance tickets requiring them to appear in Croton-on-Hudson village court on May 28, 2008.

The oil spill was discovered March 29 by a railroad employee. The county police Environmental Security Unit was alerted to the spill by the environmental organization Riverkeeper.

“This was a significant spill that occurred near the Hudson River and had the potential of contaminating groundwater in the area,” said Ron Gatto, director of the Environmental Security Unit.

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