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For Release: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Duo Faces Multiple Charges in Connection with Hazardous Waste in Rensselaer County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has charged two Pittstown residents with felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from hazardous waste disposal and an illegal fire in the town of Pittstown that burned for three days last November.

On June 9, Fay Way residents Youlanda Cushman and John Tybush II were arrested and charged with multiple violations of the Environmental Conservation Law.

"DEC takes violations of our environmental laws very seriously and we will prosecute any and all individuals who dispose of hazardous wastes in an illegal and dangerous manner," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "I would like to recognize the work of our Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) investigators for their tireless work over the past eight months to bring this case to fruition and thank the Rensselaer County District Attorney's office for prosecuting this case."

Cushman, 37, was charged with the felonies of unlawful possession of hazardous waste and endangering the public health or environment. She was also charged with eight other misdemeanors related to the fire. Cushman faces up to $495,000 in fines and/or up to 15 years in prison.

Tybush, 29, was charged with a misdemeanor count of endangering the public health and safety of the environment. In addition, Tybush was charged with two counts of burning hazardous material in an open fire and two counts of causing the emissions of air contaminants to the atmosphere that interfere with the enjoyment of life or property, both violations. Tybush faces up $97,500 in fines and/or up to five years in prison.

Cushman and Tybush were both released on their own recognizance and ordered to appear in Pittstown Town Court at a later date.

On Nov. 24, 2015, DEC ECOs with the Bureau of Environmental Crime Investigations (BECI) unit executed a search warrant at the Cushman residence to investigate a large open burning pit that contained more than 200 tires, insulation, appliances, household furniture, roofing shingles, pails of roofing tar, plastics and construction debris. Other wastes found stored or disposed of on the property included drums of waste oils and gasoline, antifreeze, paints and developer chemicals.

ECOs collected more than 20 samples of potentially hazardous substances. Laboratory analyses of the samples revealed that more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste was illegally disposed of and stored at the site, which has since been remediated under the supervision of DEC staff.

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