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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5073 - Asbestos in Schools

August 07, 1986


(Rep. Florio (D) New Jersey and 103 others)

The Administration shares the broad goals of H.R. 5073 — namely, protecting the Nation's school children from harmful exposure to asbestos. In fact, EPA has already accomplished major objectives of the legislation. For example, a year ago the Agency developed a model State contractor certification and training program, as specified in the bill. Since then, 20 States have passed legislation enabling certification programs and another 10 have legislation pending. However, the Administration opposes the bill unless the following changes are made:

— eliminate the new four year "Asbestos Trust Fund," which provides $100 million above and beyond the existing $100 million per year authorized by the Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act (ASHAA). All loan repayments made under Section 505 of ASHAA should be returned to the Treasury, not used to expand the program and increase the Federal deficit;

— eliminate the requirement for Federally-mandated inspection and periodic reinspection of school buildings. EPA has authority to impose more inspections if many local governments ignore the problem. However, local educational agencies are now well aware of the dangers posed by asbestos and, with EPA's existing technical assistance program, are capable of conducting inspections on their own;and

— eliminate the requirement for EPA to conduct a study assessing the health effect of asbestos in public and commercial buildings and develop appropriate responses. EPA conducted a similar effort in 1983, a national survey of asbestos-containing friable materials in buildings. In addition, EPA is performing a case study on asbestos abatement in commercial buildings, and state-of-the-art guidance and technical assistance are already available to, and used by building owners.

The Administration believes that H.R. 5073 unnecessarily and improperly imposes Federal asbestos standards on local school systems, which clearly violates the Administration's position on Federalism. Further, local school systems are fully capable of, and have demonstrated every willingness to, solve their problems on their own.

The Administration strongly urges that H.R. 5073 not be considered under suspension of the rules, but rather be subject to normal floor debate so that it can be amended as noted above.

Ronald Reagan, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5073 - Asbestos in Schools Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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