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Emails Show EPA Staff Clashed Over Asbestos Rules

Image: Emails Show EPA Staff Clashed Over Asbestos Rules

By    |   Friday, 10 August 2018 12:09 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency upset its own career staffers after leading officials approved a plan to change how asbestos is regulated, according to internal emails obtained by The New York Times.

EPA officials and career staff clashed over the "significant new-use rule," which would set new guidelines for what asbestos use is considered dangerous enough for the federal government to examine prior to restricting, or banning entirely.

According to Robert T. Courtnage, who works as an associate chief in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, "upper management asked us to take a different approach," this year. According to an email sent on April 25, the group working on the proposal was to list 15 specific uses for asbestos that require review by the government, instead of calling to review all new uses of asbestos.

"The new approach raises significant concerns about the potential health impacts," Sharon Cooperstein, a policy analyst in the department, wrote in an email. She and two other EPA staffers, one a veteran scientist and the other a longtime attorney for the agency, raised their concerns that the proposal could allow business to use asbestos in certain cases without a government assessment.

EPA environmental scientist Susan Fairchild wrote in an email that if the department "failed to correctly anticipate some other new use, then it seems to me that the manufacture of such a product would not be subject to" the proposed rule.

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The Environmental Protection Agency upset its own career staffers after leading officials approved a plan to change how asbestos is regulated, according to internal emails obtained by The New York Times.
epa, environmental protection agency, asbestos, internal emails
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2018-09-10
Friday, 10 August 2018 12:09 PM
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