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Endangerment case set for sentencing June 17

COEUR D’ALENE — Sentencing is set June 17 in U.S. District Court for a South Dakota man on a federal negligent endangerment charge resulting from an incident in Kamiah earlier this year.

John Wilhelm Myre, 55, of Garretson, S.D., pleaded guilty March 18 to the charge, investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to a plea agreement, Myre admitted that between Jan. 25- 29 he was the supervisor of approximately five laborers for Dakota Southern Railroad. While the employees were working in Kamiah, Myre directed them to use acetylene cutting torches to cut apart steel beams from an old railroad trestle. These steel beams were painted with lead- based paint, which when burned by the torches became volatilized and released lead compounds into the air. One of the workers was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with acute lead poisoning. Dakota Southern Railroad was not prosecuted.

Negligent endangerment, pursuant to the Clean Air Act, is punishable by up to one year in prison, a maximum fine of $100,000, and five years’ probation.   

Sentencing will be before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

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