Eagle Environmental

FORMER WASHINGTON SCHOOL OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH ASBESTOS VIOLATIONS

20 years ago

JAMES L. CLEMENSEN, FORMER OPERATOR OF THE AGAPE BOARDING SCHOOL IN OTHELLO, WASH., WAS CHARGED ON JULY 27, IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT YAKIMA WITH VIOLATING THE ASBESTOS HAZARD EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACT. THE CHARGES ALLEGE THAT BETWEEN APRIL 1993 AND JUNE 1994, CLEMENSEN AND OTHERS REMOVED ASBESTOS- CONTAINING MATERIAL FROM INSULATION ON ABOVE-GROUND STEAM PIPES AND THEN BURIED IT ON SCHOOL GROUNDS. SUFFICIENT EXPOSURE TO AIRBORNE ASBESTOS FIBERS CAN CAUSE LUNG CANCER, A CANCER OF THE CHEST CAVITY KNOWN AS “MESOTHELIOMA”, AND ASBESTOSIS, WHICH IS A CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASE. CLEMENSEN WAS CHARGED WITH FAILING TO INSPECT SCHOOL BUILDINGS FOR THE PRESENCE OF ASBESTOS-CONTAINING MATERIAL, WITH FAILING TO DEVELOP AN ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT PLAN, AND WITH FAILING TO FOLLOW REQUIRED RESPONSE ACTIONS. CLEMENSEN LATER HIRED AN ASBESTOS ABATEMENT CONTRACTOR IN 1995 TO DIG UP THE MATERIAL AND PROPERLY DISPOSE OF IT. THIS CASE WAS INVESTIGATED BY EPA’S CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION AND THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT.

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