A Department of Environmental Conservation press release said Leroy Douglas of Ausable Forks, was charged for a 2008 incident with “Endangering Public Health, Safety, or the Environment in the third degree, a felony with a maximum fine of $150,000 and up to 4 years in prison” after allegedly improperly “disposing numerous 55-gallon drums containing a hazardous substance” onto property owned by his Douglas Corporation of Silver Lake.
Douglas was also charged with misdemeanors of Unlawful Disposal of Solid Waste, Disturbing the Bed/Banks of a Classified Trout Stream and Failure to Register a Petroleum Bulk Storage Facility, each of which could come with significant fines and up to a year in jail.
North Country Public Radio added that “a state investigator found a wide range of contamination on Douglas’s land, including a pile of lead acid batteries, dead animals and medical waste.”
Douglas told The Press-Republican that he believes the indictment is politically motivated. He claims the state wanted to buy his land but he refused to sell.
“DEC has had warrants to search my property twice since I wouldn’t sell,” Douglas said to the Plattsburgh daily. “If I’m such an environmental villain, what would they wait two and a half years for?”
The Press-Republican added that Douglas has filed suit in federal court against the Adirondack Park Agency in relation to a 2007 enforcement action against him.
“Douglas says the charges originated with his son, Michael, with whom he had a falling out a few years ago, and whose girlfriend, Elizabeth Vann, works for the DEC,” according to a report written by Post-Star Projects Editor Will Doolittle.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported that Douglas pleaded not guilty to this week’s charges.