Bottom-paint executives get prison terms in banned-coating case

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A marine coatings company and two executives who pleaded guilty in October to willfully conspiring to obstruct the Environmental Protection Agency by selling a known pesticide were fined more than $1 million and sentenced to prison time.

New Nautical Coatings, doing business as Sea Hawk Paints and Sea Hawk Refinish Line, was sentenced to pay a fine of $1,235,315 on Dec. 5, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

New Nautical was sentenced to a three-year period of probation, which requires the company to complete an environmental compliance program during that period of time.

Company president David Norrie, who pleaded guilty to willfully conspiring to obstruct the EPA, was sentenced to five months in prison and six months of home confinement.

Chief executive officer Erik Norrie, who pleaded guilty to willfully conspiring to knowingly distribute and sell an unregistered pesticide, was sentenced to three months in prison.

Sea Hawk Refinish Line Inc., which pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy, was sentenced to probation for one year.

Vice president Jason Revie and national sales manager Tommy Craft previously pleaded guilty to knowingly distributing and selling an unregistered pesticide and was each sentenced to a one-year period of probation.

Court papers showed that the company disputed the harmful effects of the pesticide tributyltin methacrylate, or TBT.

In February, federal prosecutors charged the Florida paint and coatings manufacturer with conspiring to unlawfully produce and continue sales of a bottom paint containing TBT and falsely representing to customers and distributors that it was in compliance with federal law.

The indictment said New Nautical maintained a website stating “Biocop is a copper and tin-based copolymer formulation that blends the benefits of a hard base with TBT and copper for the highest level of antifouling protection.”

“New Nautical was prohibited from manufacturing Biocop for domestic sales after Dec. 1, 2005, the effective date of cancellation, and was prohibited from selling Biocop to anyone in the United States after Dec. 31, 2005,” the indictment said. “Contrary to EPA authorization, New Nautical continued to produce Biocop, and continued to use its sales team to sell and distribute Biocop in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere in the United States.”

The EPA says on its website that it “has canceled all TBT antifouling paint product registrations; cancellation of the last such registration was effective in December 2005.”