As many of you know, early this year EPA decided to end enforcement of the fibers program. The fibers program includes the EPA NESHAP, AHERA and the Model Accreditation Plan. This move was budget driven and had no consideration of either business or human health issues. The announced plan was to eliminate the 10 regional asbestos coordinator positions and the 10 NESHAP coordinator positions at the regional level and turn compliance and enforcement over to the state and local programs. States like Georgia who have no local NESHAP programs would simply have no enforced compliance, nor would any of the Indian lands in the US. States like Arizona who have no AHERA/MAP programs would likewise have no AHERA compliance enforcement.
After several subsequent announcements and changes of plans, as far as we know at the present time, EPA has reversed their position and decided to retain the programs, although limited in funding, and the regional coordinator positions will be maintained. However, the bulk of the compliance and enforcement will fall to the local jurisdictions.
We are fortunate in Arizona and the Southwestern states to have active programs at the state, county and air district levels. We need to support these programs however we can, for we would have no asbestos control industry without them.