The Hi-Shear Corporation

Hi-Shear once owned one of the parcels that is part of the proposed Cordevista project.

From the company's website:

The name of the company comes from its first product -- the Hi-Shear Rivet -- invented by George S. Wing, co-founder of the Company. The Hi-Shear Rivet was one of the first modern high strength fasteners for aircraft structures and was first used in the famed North American Aviation P51C Mustang Fighter.

Established in 1943, Hi-Shear moved to it's Torrance, California facility in 1958.  Hi-Shear Corporation is a part of the aerospace branch of Lisi Group (LInk Solutions for Industry), a publicly traded French company.  The Lisi group includes aerospace, automotive and cosmetics operations worldwide.

Hi-Shearís products, both proprietary and non-proprietary, are sophisticated, high technology interpretations of the founderís original rivet. Today, the company is a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced aerospace fasteners and installation tools used in commercial, military and space vehicles.

Made from various metals and alloys, our fasteners are made to exacting specifications in order to withstand temperature extremes, high shear and tension values, and high vibration stresses. Specialized engineering and production skills are utilized to meet these specifications and the rigid quality controls they demand.

It doesn't say anything about the propellant and explosive device manufacturing business that they conducted in Storey County.

From a Google Group on environmental issues I discovered the court case against three Hi-Shear employees accused of illegally dumping hazardous material on their property in Storey County. Two were convicted.

U.S. vs. Holderness, Heuer and Karp (D.Nev.: 5/21/92) --

Following a one week trial, guilty verdicts involving RCRA violations (originating at two separate Hi-Shear Technology Corp. facilities in two states) and false statements were returned against Holderness and Heuer, former executives of Hi-Shear.

The lead defendant, Eugene Holderness, former executive assistant to the president of Hi-Shear and the Storey County facility in Nevada, was convicted on all three counts charged against him (illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste under RCRA and making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001).

Richard Heuer, former director of operations at the Torrence, Calif. facility, was convicted of one count of making a false statement and acquitted of transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest under RCRA.

Harold Karp, former director of Ordinance Products at Torrence, was acquitted of his one charge of transportation of hazardous waste without a manifest.  The charges, filed July 23, 1991, arose from illegal transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous waste generated from Hi-Shear's propellant and explosive device manufacturing business.  Hazardous waste generated at Hi-Shear's Saugus, Calif. facility was transported without a manifest on April 27, 1988, to its facility in Storey County, Nev.  The waste then was stored at the Nevada facility, which did not have a RCRA permit for storage of hazardous waste, through Nov. 4, 1988.

From the EPA website:

A RCRA permit is a legally binding document that establishes the waste management activities that a facility can conduct and the conditions under which it can conduct them. The permit outlines facility design and operation, lays out safety standards, and describes activities that the facility must perform, such as monitoring and reporting. Permits typically require facilities to develop emergency plans, find insurance and financial backing, and train employees to handle hazards. Permits also can include facility-specific requirements such as ground-water monitoring. The permitting agency has the authority to issue or deny permits and is responsible for monitoring the facility to ensure that it is complying with the conditions in the permit. According to RCRA and its regulations, a TSDF cannot operate without a permit, with a few exceptions.

{RCRA stands for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976. A TSDF is a Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility.}

From another Google group, it appears that the convictions were overturned because they had a really good attorney who noticed a loophole in the RCRA permit.

U.S. v. Heuer, 4 F.3d 723 (9th Cir. 1993)

US v. Heuer (227a) D was convicted of illegally storing hazardous waste from Saugus in the Storey facility without a permit, disposing of such waste in violation of a condition of a permit, and falsely representing that the material he stored and disposed of was a sample instead of waste. He contends that he was improperly charged under §6928(d)(2)(B) with disposal of hazardous waste contrary to the conditions of an RCRA permit, because disposal only of waste generated at Storey was not a material condition of Hi-Shear's permit, which did allow open-burning of waste propellant at the Storey facility. This turns on whether §6928(d)(2)(B) which requires a knowing violation of a material condition of an RCRA permit, can be violated when the condition allegedly violated does not appear in the permit but is rather derived from the history of dealings between the defendant and environmental protection authorities. We hold the condition must be clear from the permit. Thus, we conclude that Holderness's conviction for disposal of hazardous waste in violation of a material condition cannot stand, as there is no condition in the permit for the Storey facility which unambiguously limits disposal to waste generated at Storey.

The questions remain:

1.   What did they dump?

2.   Where, exactly, did they dump it?


Jed Margolin
Virginia City Highlands, Nevada
April 22, 2007