Bryan Cohen Jul. 16, 2014, 6:06pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against an Oxford-based environmental company that allegedly failed to follow proper procedures and safety precautions related to asbestos-containing materials.

Patriots Environmental Corporation allegedly failed to take proper precautions while removing asbestos-containing materials from a home in Sturbridge. The company also allegedly failed to pay permit fees to the state for at least 24 projects, in addition to a $50,000 penalty issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

"Asbestos removal is a serious public safety matter and must be performed according to strict procedures to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers, which can create very serious health problems," Coakley said. "Companies working with asbestos-containing materials must be held to the highest standards of care and compliance as ordered under our state air laws and regulations."

While renovating the single-family home in Sturbridge, Patriots allegedly broke asbestos shingles apart, dropping debris onto the ground and into unsealed plastic bags exposed to the air. Patriots also allegedly failed to wet, cover or keep the asbestos shingles in sealed containers. Additionally, it allegedly failed to pay required permit application fees when it notified the state of its intended operations and failed to pay an administrative penalty assessed by MassDEP in 2008.

Coakley's lawsuit seeks civil penalties for alleged violations of the Massachusetts Clean Air Act, in addition to payment of the allegedly outstanding fees and penalties.

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