U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to intervene in mining operations at a Pennsylvania quarry where asbestos is being emitted.

Rockhill Quarry in Sellersville, Pa., ceased operations in 2018 after it was found to be emitting asbestos into the air and ground. The quarry is located in a residential area where more than 11,000 students attend school less than five miles away.

“This is a public safety issue. I request that any redevelopment of the quarry be suspended until a multiyear independent geologic investigation is conducted by a geologist, to ensure that our children and surrounding environment are safe from the dangers of asbestos,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said in a Feb. 18 statement.

The congressman said he requested the independent environmental investigation “because the majority of these tests and calculations requested from the EPA will need data collected over the span of several years to appropriately test for asbestos levels.”

In a Feb 20 letter sent to the EPA, Rep. Fitzpatrick outlined six tests that are needed on the impacts of naturally occurring asbestos (NOA) and how much of the NOA has made it into the residential areas, according to his office.

“Nobody deserves to be the test subjects of the government. Everyone here deserves full government transparency and protection,” wrote Rep. Fitzpatrick.

The lawmaker also wrote that he’s previously requested oversight from the EPA on this matter, but said he was told that under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, the EPA would not intervene “because a quarry is not considered residential enough.”

“What the EPA fails to see is that this quarry was closed for decades and now the quarry is located within a residential area,” he wrote.

Rep. Fitzpatrick requested several other actions from the EPA, including to perform on-site Activity-Based Sampling of air that targets the activities that will be conducted during quarrying operations, and while doing so, to perform construction area and site perimeter air monitoring, among other items.

“It is time for the EPA to put bureaucracy aside and take a look at how this is negatively affecting residents,” Rep. Fitzpatrick wrote. “This quarry is in fact in a residential area and impacts thousands of people just within a five-mile radius.”

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