Evans acts to protect area residents, workers
Rep. Lane Evans, upon hearing complaints from a watchdog organization about shoddy and dangerous practices by the company employed to demolish the old Case/IH plant on the Moline/East Moline border, contacted the appropriate agencies and got action to protect both workers and area residents from being exposed to hazardous asbestos.
In addition to finding several workplace safety violations, it also found that the company was not taking appropriate measures to ensure that the massive amount of asbestos contained in the building was contained and prevented from contaminating the area.
Sometimes government works. If Zinga or another Republican was in office, they'd likely consider allowing tons of cancerous asbestos dust to be released into the air and blown over thousands of residences to be environmental nit-picking. They just hate OSHA and think it should be abolished. They'd feel that any sanctions against the company would be an unfair impediment to business and likely would have protected the demolition company. Especially if they'd invested in a fat donation to their campaign.
As an aside, the Bush administration, led by Dick Cheney in this instance, rammed through legislation protecting asbestos companies from being sued for causing the deaths of thousands of workers, mainly because Cheney had business interests with the asbestos mining and producing corporations out west.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has slapped $56,000 in penalties on a company demolishing the former CNH Global Case-IH plant for violating a total of 17 workplace safety rules.Note to anyone living on the east side of Moline or west side of E. Moline. Try not to breath.
OSHA gave out other penalties for violations ranging from making sure employees didn't eat or drink around asbestos to not making sure employees wore protective gear and not disposing of asbestos-containing materials properly.
A watchdog organization, which wanted to stay anonymous, contacted U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, and his district representatives in May about safety and health violations at the site. Rep. Evans and his office notified state offices, including the OSHA Peoria office.
"We would like to see a temporary restraining order put on the company," said Phil Hare, Rep. Evans' Moline district representative. "They're still not complying. The company ought to cease and desist" demolition.
Asbestos is a common, naturally occurring mineral fiber in the ground. If inhaled at high levels over a long time, however, it can cause severe lung damage and lung, chest or stomach cancer that develops many years later, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
OSHA ordered Champion officials to stop breaking workplace safety rules last week. Champion has 15 working days to pay the $56,000, unless the company contests the violations within that time period.
The Illinois Attorney General's Office filed a complaint in May with the state's Pollution Control Board against the company.
In 1997, Champion also violated federal law by causing asbestos to become airborne by not properly disposing of materials containing it.