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January 16, 2013

Asbestos help part of 'Common Sense' law

MALONE — Congressman Bill Owens re-introduced legislation before the new 113th Congress on Tuesday to speed help to communities with asbestos-laden buildings.

The Common Sense Waiver Act would empower the Environmental Protection Agency to waive some of its regulations on demolition of contaminated buildings that have been condemned or are on the verge of collapse.

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked to help fix or eliminate government regulations that just don’t make sense,” the Plattsburgh Democrat said in a news release. 

“This legislation represents another opportunity to do exactly that.”

‘PERFECT NAME’

The Common Sense Waiver Act is also known as H.R. 204. 

Among the communities that could benefit is the Village of Chateaugay.

Several of officials from that community met with legislators in October 2012, asking for help with a deteriorating building on the northern corner of Route 11 and Route 374.

The structure has been coming apart, and bricks have fallen into the street, which is the main roadway to Chateaugay Central School and the U.S. border with Canada.

Town Supervisor Don Bilow, Village Board member Bob Bessette and others have worried for two years that someone will be hurt or killed by debris as they walk by.

Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay), who was the mayor of the Village of Chateaugay at the time the building began to rapidly decay, applauds Owens for reintroducing the law and was disappointed the bill did not gain much Congressional attention last year.

“This is the perfect name for it: Common Sense Waiver Act,” Jones said. “What makes more sense? Letting a building fall down and exposing people to injury, or possibly maiming or killing someone because we can’t take a building down ... when the asbestos is going to fly into the air anyway when it falls down, or taking precautions and bringing it down in an orderly manner?”  

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