A former water testing lab employee has been sentenced to two years in prison for participating in a false sampling scheme for southern West Virginia coal mines.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced John Brewer on Wednesday to the maximum penalty allowed. Brewer pleaded guilty in September to one count of falsifying water sample reports under the Clean Water Act.
Brewer is a former manager at Appalachian Laboratories in Beckley. Prosecutors said he and other lab workers often backdated water samples to avoid taking more samples that would reveal water quality violations.
Berger said the crime undermined a key part of the nation's environmental protection program, put communities at risk and allowed companies to discharge excess pollution without fear of getting caught.