Nat Exum’s Record as Safety Director

We all know Prince Georges County State Senator Nat Exum and ethics are two ships passing in the night. However, I was curious about his position as “Safety Director” for Joseph Smith & Sons Inc., the scrap metal dealer in Capitol Heights that Exum sought to exempt from new state regulations.

It turns out that in 1997 the EPA fined Joseph Smith & Sons Inc. $13,750 for violating the Clean Air Act.

Joseph Smith & Sons, a wholesale scrap iron and metal dealer and scrap recycler located in Capital Heights, Maryland, has been fined for violating
Clean Air Act requirements designed to protect the atmosphere from ozone- destroying chemicals.

Under the terms of the March 12, 1997 consent agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Joseph Smith & Sons must pay an administrative penalty of $13,750 and certify to EPA that the facility is in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

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The September 1995 complaint alleged that during an inspection of Smith’s scrap yard, EPA inspectors discovered several small appliances with refrigerant systems completely intact. No refrigerant lines had been cut, broken or punctured and no signs of prior refrigerant evacuation were visible.

EPA charges that Joseph Smith & Sons failed to verify that any remaining refrigerants from these appliances had been recovered before accepting them for disposal and scrap recycling. Under the law, refrigeration chemicals must be removed to prevent the release of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere.

According to financial disclosure forms filed with the Maryland State Ethics Commission Exum has been Joseph Smith & Sons “Safety Director” since April of 1990. The EPA violation happened on his watch.

I have it on good authority that Joseph Smith & Sons has been cited several times by Prince George’s County for other code violations in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I submitted FOIA requests to the PG County Government to confirm those violations.

It appears Governor O’Malley stepped into a bigger pile of it than he realized.

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