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Pipe Company, Co-Owner and State Inspector Indicted in Indiana Well-Plugging Case

Release Date: 12/22/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / millett.john@epa.gov

(12/22/04) Bi-State Pipe Co. Inc., of Mt. Camel, Ill., Carl F. Hanisch, co-owner of Bi-State, and Donald G. Veatch of Francisco, Ind., were all indicted in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis on charges they made false statements concerning a well-plugging operation in Southern Indiana. At the time of the alleged illegal conduct, Veatch was an inspector for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’s Division of Oil and Gas. According to the charges, Bi-State was sub-contracted to plug 51 leaking inactive wells in Vandenbergh County in 1999. The defendants allegedly falsified forms for 21 wells submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The charges contend the defendants falsely stated on the forms that Bi-State Pipe had installed cast iron bridge plugs in the wells to prevent petroleum-based hydrocarbons from contaminating freshwater zones higher up in the wells. The certifications were later used by the state of Indiana to receive $269,949.85 in reimbursement from the Federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for the costs to plug the wells. The case was investigated by the Indianapolis Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Indiana Interagency Environmental Crimes Task Force. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office in Indianapolis and counsel from EPA Region 5.