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1986 Federal Statute Authorizes Fines for 5 Types of Violations

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Washington--Under the 1986 federal asbestos law, the Environmental Protection Agency may issue civil penalties against schools for only five types of violations:

Failure to conduct an asbestos inspection according to the federal rules.

This includes using unaccredited personnel and laboratories and not following the correct procedure for testing material believed to contain asbestos.

Knowingly submitting false inspection results to state officials.

This includes falsifying a laboratory's reports and falsely representing an inspector's or laboratory's accreditation.

Failure to develop a management plan according to the federal rules.

This includes using an unaccredited consultant, not including all the elements that are required to be in the plan, failing to notify the public about the plan's availability, and not making the plan available to the public without cost or restriction.

Carrying out activities prohibited by the amended version of the asbestos law adopted last year.

The bill prohibits schools without approved plans to conduct renovations or removals, except emergency repairs. This provision is waived if the school is carrying out work funded by an epa grant or has conducted an accredited inspection.

Knowingly submitting false information regarding a deferral request.

This includes falsely stating that a school has notified parent, teacher, and employee groups about its intention to apply for a deferral. Public schools may not falsely state that they held a public meeting to discuss the request.

For all other violations, such as a school's failure to implement its management plan, the epa is not allowed to issue a fine. For such violations, the agency will initially issue a notice of noncompliance and will send out press releases.

If the situation is not corrected in 30 or 60 days--depending upon the violation--the agency will contact the state governor. If the governor's office or designate cannot correct the situation, the agency may either seek injunctive relief or file a lawsuit.--ef

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