James Knott Exposed the EPA’s Doctoring of Water-Test Results They Used to Indict Him

(p. A9) James Knott helped build a better lobster trap.

Though the world didn’t beat a path to his door in Northbridge, Mass., Mr. Knott eventually persuaded most manufacturers of lobster traps to use his product—plastic-coated wire mesh—rather than wood to make their devices.

. . .

He built a business, Riverdale Mills Corp., that employs more than 150 people and has withstood price competition from China and a 1997 raid by pistol-packing agents of the Environmental Protection Agency. Then came an indictment alleging Mr. Knott violated the Clean Water Act by dumping acidic wastewater. He fought back, providing evidence that the EPA had doctored water-test results. The charges were dropped.

“What am I supposed to do—lay down and get stomped on?” he asked in a 2001 interview with the television news show “60 Minutes.”

. . .

When he was indicted by a federal grand jury in the water-pollution case in 1998, Mr. Knott faced a possible prison term of six years. He hired a retired FBI handwriting analyst, who found EPA test records had been altered to show an illegal degree of acidity in the wastewater. The government soon dropped its charges.

Mr. Knott fought a long and ultimately fruitless battle to require the government to reimburse him for his legal costs.

For the full obituary, see:

James R. Hagerty. “Entrepreneur Helped Create a Better Lobster Trap.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Aug. 24, 2018): A9.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date July 27, 2018, and has the title “James Knott Pioneered Modern Lobster Traps and Fended Off the EPA.”)

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