Virginia mayor indicted for allegedly violating clean water act

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Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 12:00 PM EDT
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GLEN LYN, Va. (WDBJ) - A Virginia mayor was indicted for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act, according to the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia.

James Howard Spencer, the Mayor of Glen Lyn, Virginia, was charged with 3 counts of violating the CWA.

The indictment alleges Spencer directed employees of the Town of Glen Lyn to pump sewage and other pollutants from a pump station behind the Glyn Lyn Post Office into the East River, which is a perennial stream and tributary of the New River. Spencer took these alleged actions on three separate occasions, in the summer of 2019, December 2020, and again in June 2021.

“The protection of our nation’s waters is critical to ensuring environmental justice for all the residents of the Western District of Virginia,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “When individuals – especially those in positions of authority –pollute our rivers and streams in violation of the law, our Office will hold them accountable.”

The investigation is being jointly handled by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Virginia State Police.

Spencer appeared in court on Friday and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Spencer’s attorneys released a statement on his behalf:

“Howard Spencer has tirelessly devoted the majority of his adult life to the citizens of the Town of Glen Lyn, serving them in many different capacities. Mr. Spencer looks forward to aggressively defending and responding to the allegations that have been brought against him by the United States government.”