New York State Congressman Bill Owens introduced legislation earlier this month (H.R. 204: Common Sense Waiver Act of 2013). This bill was a re-introduction of H.R. 3689 (112th) (Dec 15, 2011). If enacted, it would allow as follows:
… The Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency to waive any emission standard or other requirement under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7412) applicable to the control of asbestos emissions in the demolition or renovation of a condemned building for which there is a reasonable expectation of structural failure.
When translated, what this would allow is the dismissal of rules and regulations that were put in place specifically to protect the general population. What it does do is put cost cutting ahead of public health and safety for both the workers and those bystanders unfortunate enough to inhale the potentially deadly dust and debris.
This Bill was drafted in response to the need of various villages or communities to get rid of deteriorating buildings. Specifically, Owens first brought the issue up in 2011 when the former Tavern Arms, also known as Nikki’s Place, collapsed in on itself in downtown Malone, NY. Current regulations basically offer no provisions when a town or village is unable to afford the repair or demolition of a building that contains asbestos. The only recourse is to “let it fall down”. This does not seem like it should be an acceptable option nor is it in the interest of public safety. However, the proposed alternative is equally without “common sense”.
Current Status of the Bill: This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on January 4, 2013, which will consider it before possibly sending it on to the House or Senate as a whole. The chances of it actually being enacted are minimal at best, which means that common sense may actually prevail in this matter.
Asbestos has been proven to cause non-malignant conditions such as asbestosis and pleural disease and malignancies including throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer and mesothelioma. For this reason, appropriate and necessary regulations have been implemented for the handling of asbestos and asbestos containing products. It would seem to be a LACK of common sense to dismiss those regulations in consideration of the all mighty dollar. Perhaps it would be time better spent determining how to make adhering to those regulations affordable. True common sense and the well-being of each and every individual should never be cost prohibitive.
“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”
― Harriet Beecher Stowe
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos related condition, we can help you. Preserve your legal rights before time runs out. Our experienced Florida asbestos law firm of Reyes, O’Shea & Coloca, P.A is dedicated to fight for the rights of those individuals stricken with mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions, who were unknowingly exposed and put at risk. Each case is handled individually and given the attention and priority it deserves by our carefully trained legal team.