Court orders jail time for polluter

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A man convicted of paying to improperly dispose of waste oil and chemicals will spend time in jail.

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A jury in January convicted Thomas Wood, 54, owner of a now-defunct Chugiak auto repair shop, of hazardous substance release in 2003. He was sentenced Friday to a month in jail and as much as $13,000 in restitution.

Wood paid two young men $100 to dispose of five 55-gallon drums containing oil and chemicals. They apparently wanted the material to set fires at Jim Creek north of Anchorage.

The cost of legally disposing of the drums would have been about $2,500.

Wood, who has operated several car repair businesses over 30 years, owned Foreign Engine and Repair in Chugiak.

According to court documents, Wood paid Chris Pifer, an employee in his early 20s, and Pifer's roommate, Jeff Hering, to take the hazardous waste to Jim Creek, where, he said, the men planned to torch it.

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