Air district whistle-blowers awarded $4 million in records-destruction case. Exposing Misconduct.

Air district whistle-blowers awarded $4 million in records-destruction case

December 17, 2019

Two former Bay Area Air Quality Management District employees who said they were retaliated against after objecting to the illegal destruction of pollution records will be paid $4 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit.

Michael Bachmann, a manager in charge of retaining records, and Sarah Steele, who was assigned to Bachmann’s team, complained that the district was destroying pollution records in violation of district policy and state and federal law as it prepared to move its headquarters in 2016.

The air district regulates sources of air pollution in the Bay Area, including monitoring and enforcing violations by refineries and other manufacturing plants. Records of violations and fines were among both paper and electronic records that were destroyed, Bachmann and Steele said.

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