Frac Fraud on the Rise: Sixth man admits role in altering emission control devices on trucks used in Marcellus Shale gas fields

Sixth man admits role in altering emission control devices on trucks used in Marcellus Shale gas fields by John Beauge, Aug 21, 2019, Pennlive

WILLIAMSPORT – An inventory and logistics analyst has become the sixth individual to admit participating in a scheme to tamper with emission control devices on heavy duty diesel trucks used in the Marcellus Shale natural gas fields.

Brian Mellott, 46, of Cumberland, Maryland, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. Middle District Court to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing a lawful function of government and violations of the Clean Air Act.

It is the same charge to which the other five pleaded guilty and admitted between August 2013 and March 2016 they altered the devices on more than 30 heavy duty trucks to reduce repair costs and maintenance down time.

Mellott’s involvement included ordering equipment that when installed fooled control devices into believing emission systems were operating correctly.

He also admitted falsifying invoices by listing the “defeat” devices as exhaust systems.

Mellott worked in Lycoming County at the Linden facility of Rockwell Northeast, a subsidiary of Rockwater Energy Solutions Inc. of Houston, Texas.

Rockwater provides transportation of water and wastewater to and from natural gas wells. The scheme to which all six admitted participating involved:

  • Replacing hardware control devices with exhaust tubing or “straight pipes” that do not limit emissions.
  • Removing the hardware control devices from their compartments and then re-welding the entry point to create a false appearance they remained installed.

The others who have pleaded guilty but not sentenced are Joseph A. Powell, John E. Joseph Jr., Gavin Rexer, Dennis Paulhamus Jr. and Timothy Sweitzer. …

When they pleaded guilty, Paulhamus admitted selling $62,000 worth of defeat devices to Rockwell and Sweitzer acknowledged he passed for state inspection trucks without the required emission controls.

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