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Thursday, July 2, 2009
WWW.USDOJ.GOV
ENRD
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TDD (202) 514-1888


Former Owner of the Largest Chrysotile Asbestos Mine and Mill in the U.S. Agrees to Address Contamination at Vermont Site

WASHINGTON— As part of a multi-site settlement, G-I Holdings Inc. has agreed to address asbestos contamination caused by its past operation of the largest chrysotile asbestos mine and mill in the country, the United States and the state of Vermont announced today.

The 1,673-acre abandoned mine site in Vermont, known as the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine Site (VAG Site) is the most significant of the contaminated sites covered by the settlement, which includes 12 other industrial sites across the country where G-I may have disposed of hazardous waste.

According to a federal complaint filed in New Jersey, the VAG Site has two towering piles of asbestos-containing mine and mill tailings, which are eroding offsite and adversely affecting downstream surface waters and wetlands. These piles also attract hikers, rock collectors, and ATV enthusiasts. In the complaint, the United States alleged that these activities may cause exposure to airborne-asbestos by those who access the site.

Under today’s settlement, G-I will take immediate steps at the VAG Site by constructing fencing, gates and road barriers to restrict public access; providing onsite surveillance and securing the mill buildings. They will also monitor air emissions from the piles; conduct dust suppression, if necessary, and provide support to EPA and Vermont for future sampling and monitoring.

These tasks will take place over eight years, at a cost of up to $7.75 million. The need for dust suppression will depend on the air monitoring results. G-I will also reimburse the federal and state governments for past and future cleanup costs at the VAG Site and related off-site contamination. G-I, now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will reimburse a portion EPA and Vermont’s cleanup costs up to 8.6 percent of $300 million. Finally, G-I will pay $850,000 for damages to local wetlands and waterways contaminated by the site.

Also, as part of the settlement, G-I will contribute $104,615 as its share of cleanup costs to resolve federal claims at nine other superfund sites where its predecessors disposed of hazardous waste. In addition, under the decree, the federal government will have up to 10 years to bring claims for cleanup costs and damages to natural resources at three related heavily-contaminated sites in or near Linden, N.J. Under the consent decree, the Linden claims will pass through the bankruptcy and not be discharged, but will eventually be paid at the bankruptcy rate of 8.6 percent on the dollar if G-I is found liable for the contamination.

“The cornerstone of this settlement is that G-I is responsible for completing extensive work at the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine Site, focusing on site security, air monitoring and investigating and sampling certain mine tailings,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “G-I will also pay for its share of cleanup costs for this Site and nine other contaminated sites around the country.”

The consent decree, lodged today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2009/July/09-enrd-659.html

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United States Environmental Protection Agency

http://www.epa.gov/

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Chemicals: Scientific Review, Assessment

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) gives EPA broad authorities to protect against risks from chemicals, including authorities to collect and assess toxicity and exposure data on new and existing industrial chemicals and to develop policies and regulations on chemical-testing methods. The law also authorizes EPA to require manufacturers and processors to take risk-management actions to reduce “unreasonable” risks of chemicals of concern.

In addition, for the past decade EPA has been voluntarily receiving basic screening-level data from industry and making it available to companies and citizens to make wise chemical choices. And through its Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP), EPA is using the information to make hazard, exposure and risk determinations to prioritize chemicals of concern for further study and/ or risk management actions.

On this page you will find:

ChAMP’s Approach

The Chemical Assessment and Management Program (ChAMP) broadens EPA’s efforts to ensure the safety of existing chemicals. The program increases the number of organic chemicals for which EPA is making screening-level hazard, exposure, and risk characterizations. EPA is using these characterizations to prioritize chemicals to indicate whether additional data or control measures may be needed to address potential hazards and risks identified in the prioritization process

Scientific Review of New Chemicals Under TSCA

Under TSCA, EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics reviews submissions of information on new chemicals to determine if they warrant prohibiting or limiting their manufacture, processing, or use. Because the submissions include little or no toxicity or fate data, EPA’s new chemicals program uses several risk screening approaches, including structural activity relationships, to facilitate assessment in the absence of specific data. This enables rapid evaluation of potential risks and making risk-management decisions for the new chemicals within the 90-day timeframe prescribed by TSCA.

Scientific Review of Nanoscale Materials Under TSCA

OPPT is evaluating and, where appropriate, managing the risks associated with engineered nanoscale materials. Nanoscale materials at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers may exhibit novel properties that enable applications that differ from the same materials at a larger scale. A nanometer is about one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair.

On January 28, 2008, OPPT initiated a Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) aimed at gathering currently available information on NMs. Its goal is to help provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions by encouraging submission and development of key scientific information, including risk-management practices for nanoscale materials.

Scientific Review of Biotech Chemicals Under TSCA

Also under TSCA, EPA is responsible for the safe commercial introduction of new or intergeneric microorganisms with industrial applications, such as bioremediation, or the production of specialty enzymes. Read about TSCA Biotechnology Program.

Testing Methods

To evaluate whether chemicals may pose unreasonable risks, TSCA gives EPA authority to issue data development regulations that require manufacturers and processors of existing chemicals to submit information on health and environmental effects of their chemicals. Read more about rules and policies that for testing chemicals.

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  • Interpretive Documents
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) – The Freedom of Information Act provides specifically that “any person” can make requests for government information.
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    http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pubs/chem_sci_rev_assmnt.htm

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    United States National Central Bureau of Interpol – US Dept. of Justice – USNBC

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usncb/index.php

    Agencies Detailed to the USNCB (Subject To Change)

    • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – The ATF is a principal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice… (read more)
    • Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – The CBP is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)… (read more)
    • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – ICE is the largest investigative branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)… (read more)
    • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States… (read more)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – The Criminal Investigation Division investigates the most significant and egregious violators of environmental laws… (read more)
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The FBI is the principal investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice. It has the authority and responsibility to investigate specific crimes assigned to it… (read more)
    • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – The TSA is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation’s transportation systems… (read more)
    • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) – The United States Coast Guard is one of the country’s five armed services; it operates as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation’s front-line agency for enforcing our laws at sea… (read more)
    • U.S. Department of State (DOS) – The Diplomatic Security Service is the security and law enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. Diplomatic Security agents serve a majority of their careers overseas… (read more)
    • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation… (read more)
    • U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) – The Marshals Service is the federal government’s lead agency for conducting investigations involving: escaped federal prisoners; probation, parole and bond default violators; and fugitives based on warrants generated during drug investigations. The U.S. Marshals have the authority to make an arrest on all federal warrants… (read more)
    • U.S. Postal Inspection Service – The mission of the United States Postal Inspection Service is to protect the U.S. Postal Service, secure the nation’s mail system and ensure public trust in the mail… (read more)
    • U.S. Secret Service – The Secret Service was established in 1865, solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Today, the agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders, and criminal investigations… (read more)

    http://www.usdoj.gov/usncb/whoweservice/detailed.php

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    US Treasury Department –

    The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) supports law enforcement investigative efforts and fosters interagency and global cooperation against domestic and international financial crimes. It also provides U.S. policy makers with strategic analyses of domestic and worldwide trends and patterns.

    http://www.ustreas.gov/bureaus/index.html

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    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises national banks to ensure a safe, sound, and competitive banking system that supports the citizens, communities, and economy of the United States.

    Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is the primary regulator of all federal and many state-chartered thrift institutions, which include savings banks and savings and loan associations.

    U.S. Mint The U.S. Mint designs and manufactures domestic, bullion and foreign coins as well as commemorative medals and other numismatic items. The Mint also distributes U.S. coins to the Federal Reserve banks as well as maintains physical custody and protection of our nation’s silver and gold assets.

    Effective in 2003, the Bureaus of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), U.S. Customs,and the United States Secret Service (USSS) are no longer Bureaus of the Department of the Treasury. Click on the links to go to their respective sites.
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