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EPA Media and Contract Freezes Do Not Impact Asbestos Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will reportedly continue pollution cleanup and construction projects despite orders from President Donald Trump's new administration to cease certain activities, according to the Associated Press, which cites the EPA transition team communications director for this information. This news will be welcomed by people impacted by important EPA asbestos cleanup projects across the nation such as the Libby, Montana, Superfund site, about which we have recently blogged.

For example, WFAE, the Charlotte, North Carolina, National Public Radio station, reports that the federal asbestos cleanup in Davidson of a neighborhood near an old asbestos factory will continue despite the administration's restrictions on EPA activity.

New EPA Restrictions

The AP article says that the EPA is prohibited from:

  • Awarding new grants or contracts
  • Issuing press releases
  • Posting to EPA social media, including blogs
  • Participating in "new business activities" like "task orders or work assignments" to outside contractors
  • Sending any message that is not "critical"

The AP reports that the transitional communications director expects the communication blackout to end by January 28.

EPA Work Important for Asbestos Control

The EPA is the federal agency responsible broadly for environmental protection across the country. This responsibility includes intensive agency work to identify and remove asbestos contamination, often the result of past industrial activity or unsafe disposal practices, according to the agency website.

EPA also funds important environmental work of state and local public environmental agencies. Apparently officials at those agencies are trying to clarify how the administration's orders to EPA will impact them, reports the AP.

Advocates for the victims of asbestos-related injury will continue to monitor EPA changes that could impact asbestos-related cleanup or protection of the public from asbestos releases.

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