Two more admit to emission monitor tampering scheme

From PennLive

WILLIAMSPORT — Two employees of a firm that does work in the natural gas fields have admitted they were part of a scheme to tamper with emission monitoring systems on heavy duty diesel trucks.

Guilty pleas Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court are the latest in what authorities say is an ongoing investigation initiated following a tip.

Appearing before Judge Matthew W. Brann Thursday were Rockwell Northeast employees Joseph A. Powell, 32, and John E. Joseph Jr., 38.

The company, which transports water and wastewater to and from natural gas wells, is a subsidiary of Rockwater Energy Solutions Inc. of Houston, Texas.

Powell was general manager of water management for Rockwell facilities in Linden, Hickory and Avella, the latter two in Washington County. Joseph was shop manager for Rockwell in Hickory.

They pleaded to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing a lawful function of the federal government, namely the Clean Air Act.

Co-defendants Gavin Rexer, 29, Dennis Paulhamus Jr., 39, and Timothy Sweitzer, 41, of Jersey Shore, similarly entered guilty pleas last month.

The five admitted playing a role in altering the emission monitoring systems on more than 30 trucks with heavy duty diesel engines in 2013 and 2014.

The modifications improved horsepower, torque and fuel efficiency but permitted toxic emissions that violated the Clean Air Act.

Sweitzer admitted he passed four state inspection trucks that had altered monitoring systems.

The five have been released on personal recognizance pending sentencing. Each is facing a jail term in the range of 10 to 16 months.

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