SELLERSVILLE, PA.— Today, March 11, 2021, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) wrote to the newly confirmed EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, to inform him of the critical, ongoing environmental issues surrounding the Rockhill Quarry. The Congressman also renewed his call for the EPA to conduct a full review on the geological tests previously submitted to the DEP and called on the EPA to enact a permanent closure of the quarry.
“Just over a year ago, I stood with local officials and residents who have been directly impacted by naturally occurring asbestos (NOA), to call on Hanson Aggregates, the EPA, and the DEP to conduct a multi-year investigation to fully understand the true health impacts of NOA. Earlier tests conducted have shown that Hanson used modified testing procedures that have been deemed unacceptable by EPA and United States Geological Survey (USGS) standards, so direct intervention is without question justified,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “Throughout the course of the past year, we have seen constant delays and inaction from all parties involved. Since no action has been taken in conducting a multi-year investigation, the only way to ensure there is no threat to human health, and those living and attending school in the area, is to enact a permanent closure of the Rockhill Quarry.”
In previous inquires, the EPA has indicated that under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), the agency would not intervene because, in this situation, the quarry is not considered residential enough. The Congressman has continuously stressed that what the EPA fails to see is that this quarry was closed for decades, and now it is located at the epicenter of a residential area. In his most recent letter, the Congressman emphasized that the existence of asbestos satisfies the threshold of direct EPA involvement, compared to similar situations such as El Dorado Hills, California, and the Libby asbestos site in Montana. In these examples, it was clear an uncontrollable release was occurring and documented during disturbance activities.
In February 2020, Congressman Fitzpatrick wrote to the EPA, requesting they conduct an independent, multi-year environmental investigation that meets the standards and protocols acceptable by the USGS. You can find a link to the press release here.
In June 2020, Congressman Fitzpatrick wrote to the Secretary of the DEP, Patrick McDonnell, asking the agency to send a formal request to the EPA for a thorough, independent investigation, as outlined in the February 2020 letter.
In September 2020, Congressman Fitzpatrick sent a letter to Deputy Secretary of Health, Raphael Barishansky, requesting that the agency promptly determine the future of the quarry and weigh in on the health implications as it relates to NOA.