Friday, October 07, 2011

EPA Issues a Compliance Order Against Buffalo's Public Housing Authority

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a compliance order, charging Buffalo's Public Housing Authority with violations of the Federal Clean Air Act resulting in fines up to $25,000 a day for each violation.  See the WIVBTV video for the full story or Phil Fairbank's article "Housing Authority faces fines on asbestos" at BuffaloNews.com.
This is part 2 of the Kensington Heights housing project where the federal government has handed indictments of nine individuals and two contractors on felony criminal charges related to the asbestos removal project.  The 23-count indictment charges the contractors and individuals, including three inspectors -- one from the state, two from the city -- with improperly removing and disposing of asbestos at the complex.  EPA spokesman Michael Basile said the allegations against the authority are similar but are administrative charges, not criminal charges. The authority is alleged to have violated the EPA's National Emission Standards for Asbestos.
Basile says the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority needs to first submit a plan of proper asbestos removal for what's left in the building, then a plan for a safe demolition.  "We want to make sure that the building is demolished and the removal of the asbestos is done in a safe manner to protect human health and the environment, not only for the people that are going to be working on the project, but for the people that live in the immediate area,” said Basile.  Basile says he hopes the fines will never be imposed, and believes the Public Housing Authority wants to get the asbestos removal and demo process done as soon as possible.  He says once the plans are developed and submitted to the EPA, the approval process should take less than two weeks.
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