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U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
EPA's Alternative Asbestos
Control Method Experiments
Lacked Effective Oversight
and Threatened Human Health
September 25, 2014
Report No. 14-P-0359
Scan this mobile
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about the EPA OIG.

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Report Contributors:
Benjamin Beeson
Martha Chang
Christine El-Zoghbi
Eric Lewis
Jennifer Pallotta
Wendy Wierzbicki
Michael Wilson
Abbreviations
AACM
Alternative Asbestos Control Method
ADP
Action Development Process
CERCLA
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations
CWA
Clean Water Act
EIS
Environmental Impact Statement
EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
NAA
No Action Assurance
NEPA
National Environmental Policy Act
NESHAP
National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants
NRMRL
National Risk Management Research Laboratory
OAQPS
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards
OAR
Office of Air and Radiation
OECA
Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
OIG
Office of Inspector General
ORD
Office of Research and Development
OSHA
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
RACM
Regulated asbestos-containing material
U.S.C.
U.S. Code
Cover photo: An example of the beginning stage of the Alternative Asbestos Control Method
process. The photo is from the AACM 3 report. (EPA photo)
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	14-P-0359
f	\ Office of Inspector General	September25,2014
\	I
At a Glance
Why We Did This Review
The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA),
Office of Inspector General
(OIG), assessed the EPA's
oversight of the Alternative
Asbestos Control Method
(AACM) experiments. This
review follows EPA OIG Report
No. 12-P-0125, Early Warning
Report: Use of Unapproved
Asbestos Demolition Methods
May Threaten Public Health,
issued December 14, 2011.
In 1999, the city of Fort Worth,
Texas, proposed an alternative
method to demolish asbestos-
containing buildings. In 2003,
the EPA's Office of Research
and Development (ORD),
National Risk Management
Research Laboratory, took over
and renamed the effort the
AACM. The EPA's Office of
Enforcement and Compliance
Assurance enabled the
experiments by granting
enforcement discretion. The
ORD terminated the project in
2011 due to technical
deficiencies.
The report addresses the
following EPA goal or
cross-agency strategy:
• Embracing EPA as a high-
performing organization.
Send all inquiries to our public
affairs office at (202) 566-2391
or visit www.epa.gov/oiq.
The full report is at:
www.epa.aov/oia/reports/2014/
20140925-14-P-0359.pdf
EPA's Alternative Asbestos Control Method
Experiments Lacked Effective Oversight and
Threatened Human Health
What We Found
The EPA conducted the AACM and Fort Worth
Method research for over a decade without
appropriate oversight or an agreed research goal.
This resulted in wasted resources and the potential
exposure of workers and the public to unsafe levels of
asbestos. This occurred because:
Improving oversight of
the EPA's research
activities can minimize
the risk of waste,
noncompliance with
EPA rules and policies,
and project failures.
•	The EPA offices involved did not conduct the research under a controlled and
defined agency process that would have ensured consensus and oversight.
•	The EPA disregarded research guidance designed to ensure research quality.
•	The EPA agreed not to enforce environmental laws during the research when
other legal means for conducting the research were available.
The EPA spent almost $2.3 million in contractor costs and expenses from 2004
through 2012, and $1.2 million in research staff time on AACM experiments from
2005 through 2012. However, these figures only represent a portion of the cost,
since the agency does not track contributions from outside organizations or EPA
staff time by project. The high dollar cost, potential public health risks, and failure
of the AACM to provide reliable data and results are management control
problems that need to be addressed.
Recommendations and Planned Corrective Actions
We recommend that the EPA improve research oversight by requiring significant
research to follow a controlled process, tracking project costs and contributions,
and reviewing and resolving internal EPA comments. We recommend that the
EPA establish a process for the review of alternative regulatory emission control
method submissions, and establish and follow standard procedures. We also
recommend that the EPA improve controls over issuing No Action Assurance
letters. The agency generally provided acceptable corrective actions. Ten of the
11 recommendations we made are resolved and corrective actions are ongoing or
completed. One recommendation is unresolved, which the agency will need to
address in its final response to the report.
Noteworthy Achievements
The ORD has adopted a new process to estimate the resources expected to be
used on projects, which should provide an initial cost baseline for projects.

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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
September 25, 2014
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: EPA's Alternative Asbestos Control Method Experiments
Lacked Effective Oversight and Threatened Human Health
Report No. 14-P-0359
FROM: Arthur A. Elkins Jr.
TO:
See Below
This is our report on the subject review conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report contains findings that describe the problems
the OIG has identified and corrective actions the OIG recommends. This report represents the opinion of
the OIG and does not necessarily represent the final EPA position. Final determinations on matters in
this report will be made by EPA managers in accordance with established audit resolution procedures.
Action Required
In accordance with EPA Manual 2750, you are required to provide a written response to this report
within 60 calendar days. You should include planned corrective actions and completion dates for all
unresolved recommendations. Your response will be posted on the OIG's public website, along with our
memorandum commenting on your response. Your response should be provided as an Adobe PDF file
that complies with the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as
amended. The final response should not contain data that you do not want to be released to the public;
if your response contains such data, you should identify the data for redaction or removal along with
corresponding justification.
We will post this report to our website at http://www.epa.gov/oig.
Addressees:
Lisa Feldt, Acting Deputy Administrator
Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Janet McCabe, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator for Research and Development

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EPA's Alternative Asbestos Control Method Experiments
Lacked Effective Oversight and Threatened Human Health
14-P-0359
Table of C
Chapters
1	Introduction		1
Purpose		1
Background		1
Alternative Asbestos Control Method Research		3
Scope and Methodology		5
Prior Evaluation and Audit Coverage		6
Responsible Offices		7
2	EPA's Use of Enforcement Discretion to Continue the Experiments
Increased Risks		8
Available Methods for Conducting the AACM Project		8
OECA Provided Protection From EPA Enforcement in Violation
of Its Own Policy		10
EPA's Enforcement Discretion Left Key Issues Unresolved 		11
Conclusions		12
Recommendations		13
Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Evaluation		13
3	Management Practices at EPA's Office of Research and
Development Were Ineffective for AACM Research		14
ORD Did Not Provide Effective Oversight of AACM Research		14
NRMRL Did Not Adequately Address Health and Environmental
Issues in AACM Experiments		17
Conclusions		20
Recommendations		21
Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Evaluation		21
Status of Recommendations and Potential Monetary Benefits		22
Appendices
A Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Comments		23
B Agency Technical Comments to Official Draft Report and
OIG Comments		28
C Distribution 		43

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Chapter 1
Introduction
Purpose
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Inspector General
(OIG), assessed the EPA's oversight of the Alternative Asbestos Control Method
(AACM) demolition experiments. This review also addresses results of the EPA
OIG Report No. 12-P-0125, Early Warning Report: Use of Unapproved Asbestos
Demolition Methods May Threaten Public Health, issued December 14, 20 ll.1
The AACM experiments are no longer occurring. This report documents how the
EPA allowed these experiments to proceed, and identifies actions needed to
better manage processes and resources to protect public health in the future.
Background
Asbestos is a human carcinogen with no known risk-free level of exposure.
Asbestos exposure can lead to serious diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer
and mesothelioma. In 1973, the EPA issued the asbestos National Emission
Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) to protect human health by
reducing asbestos exposure during building demolitions and other activities.
According to the asbestos NESHAP and Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) regulations, trained technicians must remove regulated
asbestos-containing material (RACM) intact prior to demolition. Removing
RACM intact reduces asbestos fiber release.
NESHAP Efforts
•	Required NESHAP Revisions. The EPA made its last comprehensive
revision to the asbestos NESHAP in 1990. The 1990 Clean Air Act
Amendments under Section 112(q) required that the EPA review the
asbestos NESHAP by 2000. The EPA's Office of Air and Radiation
(OAR) is responsible for the asbestos NESHAP, and the office said it
does not have the resources to perform an asbestos NESHAP review and
other required reviews.
•	EPA Offices Researched NESHAP Alternatives. In 1999, the city of
Fort Worth proposed its method to the EPA. EPA offices have researched
alternative demolition work-practice methods, such as the Fort Worth
Method and the AACM, as alternatives to the asbestos NESHAP. Both of
these methods involve wetting the building prior to and during the
demolition in an effort to limit asbestos fiber release. Both of these
1 http://www.epa. gov/oig/reports/2012/20111214-12-P-0125.pdf
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methods are similar to the NESHAP-approved provision used for
buildings that are structurally unsound and in danger of imminent
collapse (imminent collapse provision) found in the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) under NESHAP 40 CFR § 61.145 (a)(3). Under the
imminent collapse provision, demolition crews wet the RACM and use
demolition equipment to break the RACM.
The goal of the AACM and Fort Worth Method research was to propose
an alternative demolition procedure to the asbestos NESHAP. The city of
Fort Worth proposed the alternative demolition procedure for "the
demolition of substandard structures that are not in imminent danger of
collapse." The AACM leaves some or all RACM in place and wets the
building with amended water prior to and during the demolition in an
effort to limit asbestos fiber release. Amended water is water to which
surfactant (wetting agent) has been added to increase the ability of the
liquid to penetrate asbestos-containing material. The Fort Worth Method
used untreated water from a fire hydrant. Both methods use demolition
equipment to break RACM.
Demolition equipment prepares to break RACM during an AACM experiment. (EPA photo)
• NESHAP Requires Alternatives to Be At Least Equivalent. Under the
NESHAP at 40 CFR §61.12 (d)(1), alternative methods must
demonstrate at least equivalent emissions reduction as the current
asbestos NESHAP method. That is, the alternative method must not emit
more asbestos than the current method where trained technicians remove
RACM intact by hand (not the imminent collapse provision). In this
report, we refer to this issue as "NESHAP equivalency." Alternatives
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must also undergo public notice and comment prior to Administrator
approval.
Alternative Asbestos Control Method Research
The EPA conducted the AACM and Fort Worth Method research from 1999
until the work on the effort was terminated in 2011. The three demolitions
occurred over a few days each in 2006 and 2007.
Fort Worth Method Proposed to EPA
In 1999, the city of Fort Worth proposed the Fort Worth Method for the
Project XL program. Initiated in 1995, Project XL was a national EPA initiative
to develop and test innovative approaches to achieve better and more cost-
effective environmental and public health protection. Some EPA offices—
including the Office of Research and Development's (ORD) National Center for
Environmental Assessment, the OAR's Office of Air Quality Planning Standards
(OAQPS), the Office of Enforcement Compliance Assurance (OECA),
Regions 5 and 6, the Office of General Counsel, the OIG, and the Office of
Policy—raised concerns about the Fort Worth Method's possible impacts on
human health and the EPA's lack of data for determining NESHAP equivalency.
Specific concerns included:
•	The lack of scientific basis to support the use of ambient air monitoring
to protect public health or demonstrate NESHAP equivalency.
•	Compliance with or obtaining waivers to OSHA requirements.
•	The integration of team comments into the experiment's design.
•	The persistence of fibers from fugitive emissions in the environment.
•	Whether the proposed method could provide an equivalent or better
emission reduction solution.
Fort Worth Method Removed from Project XL
In September 2003, Region 6 and the city of Fort Worth decided to remove the
Fort Worth Method from Project XL to "expedite the approval process." Both
the city of Fort Worth and Region 6 approached OECA to request enforcement
discretion. However, unresolved issues remained. For example, OAQPS staff
still questioned how to assess NESHAP equivalency and whether the
experiment's design would provide the data needed for an equivalency
determination.
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OIG Report on the Fort Worth Method
Three months later, EPA OIG Report No. 2004-P-00002, Significant
Modifications Needed to Ensure Success of Fort Worth Demolition Method,
issued December 19, 2003,2 cited national policy implications and the precedent-
setting nature of the project and provided key recommendations. These
recommendations included identifying equivalent asbestos emissions to ensure a
representative comparison to the Asbestos NESHAP, developing an agreement to
adequately address key project criteria such as determining what constitutes
superior environmental performance, testing within the scope of applicable laws
and regulations, and ensuring adequate stakeholder involvement and
consideration of concerns. The OIG further recommended the agency design the
project to reach complete, reliable and valid conclusions, and specify human-
health protections that ensure protection at least equivalent as the asbestos
NESHAP method. The OIG also recommended that the agency develop a single
guidance document for proposals under the agency's innovation strategy which
provides fundamental criteria and is published in the Federal Register to ensure
national policy decisions are based on sound science. This guidance includes
considering expertise within the agency, assessing the technical merits and
enforceability of proposed projects, and requiring peer reviews of proposals with
national policy implications.
In April 2004, as part of the response to the OIG's recommendations, Region 6
(on behalf of ORD, OAR, OECA, and the Office of Policy Economics and
Innovation within the Office of Policy) informed the OIG of the decision not to
continue the Fort Worth Method under the Project XL process. Further, on
July 22, 2004, the EPA announced that the Fort Worth Method would be tested
someplace other than the city of Fort Worth, Texas.
Region 6 and NRMRL Rename the Experiments
The decision to remove the Fort Worth Method from Project XL was followed
by another decision. Region 6 and the ORD's National Risk Management
Research Laboratory (NRMRL) continued the experiments, renaming the effort
the AACM and using amended water instead of the fire hydrant water used in the
Fort Worth Method. The NRMRL refined and implemented technical aspects of
the experiments, while Region 6 coordinated the effort among offices. For
example, Region 6 obtained OECA assurances that OECA would not take
enforcement action against the EPA or contractor personnel for asbestos
NESHAP violations during the experiments. The research goal of Region 6 and
the NRMRL was to determine whether the AACM could be an alternative
demolition method to the current asbestos NESHAP procedure and lead to a
regulatory change.
2 http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2003/20031219-2004-p-00002.pdf
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The NRMRL's AACM research effort consisted of three demolition experiments
or tests, wherein asbestos-containing buildings were demolished using the
AACM approach. The AACM 1 experiment was conducted with on-site support
from the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority and consisted of demolishing
two nearly identical 1940s-era buildings in late April and early May 2006 at Fort
Smith, Arkansas. The AACM 2 demolition experiment occurred on July 28,
2007, on a two-story, World War II-era building at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. The
AACM 3 demolition experiment was a joint effort with the city of Fort Worth,
Texas, at the former Oak Hollow Apartments on December 17, 2007.
AACM 1 Final Report Completed
The AACM 1 project plan was peer reviewed in February 2006 and the AACM 1
draft report on the results of the experiment was peer reviewed in June 2007. The
EPA published the peer-review comments in August 2007, and the agency's
responses in November 2007. In October 2008, the NRMRL published the final
report for the AACM 1 demolition experiment. The report was revised in
December 2009 to correct an error made in the report.
AACM 2 and AACM 3 Final Reports Were Not Completed
The NRMRL prepared and submitted the draft AACM 2 and AACM 3 reports
for peer review in July 2008, and published the peer-review report and the EPA's
response to comments in October 2009. Further, on December 25, 2008, the
NRMRL prepared another draft report comparing the AACM to the asbestos
NESHAP method, but this report was not peer reviewed or published. The
NRMRL did not complete the final reports for the AACM 2 or the AACM 3
experiments.
ORD Cancels Experiments
On July 29, 2011, the ORD Assistant Administrator, based on a request from the
ORD Deputy Assistant Administrator, cancelled the AACM research effort
citing technical problems and a desire to use ORD resources to provide support
to higher-priority research. The EPA took action to clarify the status of the
AACM research by updating 17 pages on its Science Inventory website, noting
that "The AACM remains unapproved and should not be used."
Scope and Methodology
We conducted our performance audit from March 2012 through May 2014 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those
standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient,
appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and
conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained
provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objectives.
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Our evaluation scope covered the AACM research from 2004 through 2011,
including the experiments that took place in 2006 and 2007. We reviewed past
and current EPA regulations, policies, procedures and guidance to identify
processes, controls and expectations for coordination and research design. We
reviewed documents from 1999 through 2004 for the Fort Worth Method
experiments to understand the origin of the AACM experiments. We analyzed
internal and external comments and staff correspondence gathered from the 2004
Fort Worth Method, and 2010 AACM Freedom of Information Act requests. We
also interviewed current and former EPA personnel from the Office of Policy,
OECA, OAR, ORD, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Solid Waste
and Emergency Response, and Region 6.
We did not assess the technical design, laboratory results or scientific analysis of
the AACM experiments. We limited our review to management controls in place
during the AACM experiments. When brought to our attention, we incorporated
policy and procedure changes implemented since the AACM experiments.
However, this evaluation did not assess the effectiveness of the newer policies
and procedures.
Prior Evaluation and Audit Coverage
EPA OIG Report No. 2004-P-00002, Significant Modifications Needed to
Ensure Success of Fort Worth Demolition Method, December 19, 2003:
Having already summarized relevant recommendations from this report, we will
not discuss the report further here.
Government Accountability Office Report No. GAO-06-669, EPA Should
Improve the Management of Its Air Toxics Program, June 2006: The report
discussed the need to improve the Clean Air Act air toxics program and stated
that one of the primary challenges in complying with the requirements was
insufficient resources to meet the large number of requirements in the specified
timeframes.
EPA OIG Report No. 09-P-0232, EPA '.s Office of Research and Development
Could Better Use the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act to Improve
Operations, September 15, 2009: The OIG recommended that ORD
management assess program risk and improve internal controls over research
programs.
EPA OIG Report No. ll-P-0333, Office of Research and Development Needs
to Improve Its Method of Measuring Administrative Savings, July 14, 2011:
The OIG reported that ORD does not track personnel costs by individual
research project. Specifically, interviews with ORD's National Program
Directors that lead development of ORD's multi-year plans cited difficulties in
managing research programs, such as limited access to information on funding
spent against the budget and staff time charges to research programs.
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EPA OIG Report No. 12-5-0125, Early Warning Report, Use of Unapproved
Asbestos Demolition Methods May Threaten Public Health, December 14,
2011: During our initial research we found that unapproved methods of asbestos
demolition were being used or considered at multiple sites. We also found that
unprotected workers adjacent to the restricted areas, and members of the public
in the vicinity of the AACM experiment sites, may have been exposed to
asbestos. The early warning report identified six issues requiring the EPA
Administrator's immediate attention. The EPA agreed with our report. As part of
its response to our report, the EPA issued letters in April 2013 to current and
former agency employees, state and local employees, contractors, and members
of the public, advising them of their potential exposure to asbestos as a result of
the AACM experiments. All corrective actions are certified complete by the
Deputy Administrator.
Responsible Offices
The offices responsible for implementing the audit recommendations included in
this report are the Office of the Deputy Administrator; OECA; ORD and its
National Risk Management Research Laboratory; and OAR's OAQPS.
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Chapter 2
EPA's Use of Enforcement Discretion to Continue
the Experiments Increased Risk
The EPA had three methods that it could use to pursue changes to the asbestos
NESHAP. However, on April 20, 2004, the EPA chose to use its enforcement
discretion, which would excuse violations of environmental laws and is not
designed as a way to pursue regulatory change. Enforcement discretion is not
part of the NESHAP provision for rule changes, and does not have the strong
research control mechanisms of other options, such as obtaining stakeholder
consensus or addressing project shortcomings. The AACM experiments
proceeded under enforcement discretion, as requested by Region 6, because a
former OECA Assistant Administrator and a former Acting OECA Assistant
Administrator and their staff did not follow OECA's enforcement discretion
policy. The use of enforcement discretion allowed the experiments to continue,
and gave testers immunity from certain violations of environmental laws during
testing. Enforcement discretion increased the risks to the project as key issues,
such as NESHAP equivalency, remained unresolved.
Available Methods for Conducting the AACM Project
The EPA had three mechanisms that would have forced stronger internal controls
over the AACM research had they been followed throughout the research. These
included Project XL, the Action Development Process (ADP), and NESHAP's
approval process for alternative emission control methods under 40 CFR §
61.12(d). We address these three below.
Project XL
The Project XL innovation program was a national pilot program announced in
the Federal Register (60 FR 27282) in May 1995. The EPA states that it has
since been eliminated and stopped accepting new projects for consideration.
Project XL allowed for the testing of alternative methods when all involved
parties (i.e., the EPA, project proponents, and state or tribal environmental
agencies) negotiate and approve a Final Project Agreement. The EPA's Project
XL program encouraged partnership and innovation, but required parties to reach
concurrence that a new method achieves superior environmental performance
before the parties sign a Final Project Agreement to move forward. From 1999
through 2003, Region 6 and the Office of Policy were unable to obtain
agreement from EPA offices about the efficacy of the Fort Worth Method.
Region 6 and the city of Fort Worth eventually removed the Fort Worth Method
from Project XL to expedite the approval process for the phase 2 demolitions.
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The EPA could have decided to continue the research effort within the Project
XL process. The main internal control in this process is that the parties must
reach consensus that the proposed alternative method will have superior
environmental results to those achieved by current environmental regulation. In
the case of the Fort Worth Method, efforts to achieve consensus within the EPA
failed and a Final Project Agreement was never signed. The decision to take the
Fort Worth Method out of the Project XL process also removed the Office of
Policy as the project's facilitator. This decision placed responsibility on Region 6
and the NRMRL to administer a work group that had already worked for several
years without reaching agreement.
The Action Development Process
The ADP is the EPA's process for rule development. The use of the ADP is not
mandatory, but its emphasis on early involvement by management; prompt
elevation of issues; and consideration of all scientific, economic, and policy
issues provides a framework and means of management control, oversight, and
internal review and approval. In 2007, Region 6 and the OAR entered an AACM
proposal into the ADP, but requested the proposal's removal on January 15,
2008. EPA's Regulatory Information Notice data for 2060-A064 states the
following reason for withdrawing the regulatory action: "However, we
determined that initiating this action was premature because we had not
completed testing the AACM. Therefore, we have withdrawn this action until all
testing and evaluation of the test results, including peer review, are complete."
The ADP process was designed in the 1990s to meet the EPA's regulatory
obligations under the Administrative Procedures Act and Office of Management
and Budget Circular A-4.3 The EPA developed the ADP process to ensure that
agency rules and regulations are of consistently high quality, involve senior
managers early in the development process, are supported with strong analysis,
and are developed via an open process. The ADP tasks intra-agency work group
members to identify and ensure that all significant issues and options are
addressed during rule-making. The main internal control of the ADP is the
requirement to elevate unresolved issues to EPA management for resolution.
NESHAP Alternative Method Approval
The NESHAP regulation at 40 CFR § 61.12 (d) provides for the submission of an
alternative emission control method to the EPA for review and approval. The
OAR oversees the NESHAP and after review may recommend a proposed
alternative to the Administrator. The NESHAP regulation allows anyone to submit
an alternative emission control method to the EPA for review and approval. The
EPA must provide for public notice and comment before the Administrator can
approve an alternative method. Therefore, the EPA must adequately address or
resolve all public comments or issues prior to the Administrator approving the
3 Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4, Regulatory Analysis, dated September 17, 2003.
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alternative emission control method. Since the OAR administers the NESHAP, the
OAR must also concur with the submission, and review and recommend NESHAP
alternatives to the Administrator. The NESHAP process would have forced EPA
to follow stronger internal controls for the AACM research if that mechanism had
been selected. Region 6 and the ORD did not apply for approval for an alternative
demolition method under 40 CFR § 61.12 (d).
OECA Provided Protection From EPA Enforcement in Violation of Its
Own Policy
The EPA has discretionary authority to allow rule violations in certain
circumstances. The OECA's exercise of discretionary authority allowed the
alternative asbestos demolition experiments to continue outside of a controlled
laboratory setting, without the threat of enforcement for violating environmental
laws. This authority is solely exercised by the Assistant Administrator for
OECA. When the EPA exercises this discretionary authority, the Assistant
Administrator for OECA issues a No Action Assurance (NAA) letter that
describes the use of enforcement discretion. The NAA letter is a commitment
from the EPA that the violation at issue will not be prosecuted. The main internal
control associated with the enforcement discretion approach lies in the OECA
review that ensures no other research method is available. Region 6 requested
and obtained NAA letters from the OECA to expedite testing.
The AACM experiments proceeded under enforcement discretion, as requested
by Region 6, because a former OECA Assistant Administrator and an Acting
OECA Assistant Administrator and their staff did not follow OECA's
enforcement discretion process. The Region 6 Administrator requested NAA
letters from OECA for the AACM 1 and AACM 3 studies in August 2005 and
November 2007, respectively. One former OECA Acting Assistant
Administrator granted the NAA letter for the AACM 1 on August 10, 2005.
Another former OECA Assistant Administrator granted the NAA letter for the
AACM 3 on December 4, 2007. The OECA management also provided a
tentative NAA letter for the second phase of the Fort Worth Method on
January 26, 2004. Region 6 did not request an NAA letter from the OECA for
the AACM 2 experiment in July 2007. Instead, the ORD obtained a declaration
from the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas, which said the asbestos-containing
building was structurally unsound.
No Justification for NAA Approval
In 1984, the OECA issued an enforcement discretion policy discussing steps to
follow for the issuance of NAA letters. The NAA letters provide for temporary
suspension of enforcement against specific environmental regulations in
"extremely unusual cases." However, according to the policy, the OECA should
not issue enforcement discretion to conduct research or other activities if other
mechanisms exist. As discussed previously, at least three other mechanisms
could have been used to move forward with the experiments.
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The OECA's enforcement discretion policy also requires all instances of
enforcement discretion to have supporting documentation that provides an
explanation of the reasons justifying issuance of the NAA letter. The OECA does
not have supporting documentation that provides justification for the issuance of
NAA letters for either the AACM 1 or the AACM 3.
NAA Conditions Unverified and Unaddressed
The NAA letters for the AACM 1 and AACM 3 identified conditions for
Region 6 and the NRMRL to meet prior to and following the experiments.
However, we were unable to identify evidence that the OECA staff verified
compliance with the stated conditions. For example, the NAA letter for the
AACM 1 stated that the protocol should include numerous provisions to ensure
the protection of public health and the environment; and that after peer review,
the protocol should be refined to ensure that it is, in fact, protective. We were
unable to identify any evidence that the OECA verified that public health
provisions had been added to the protocol. For example, the peers questioned the
AACM l's compliance with OSHA's worker excursion sampling regulations and
the adequacy of emission controls, and suggested the inclusion of additional
emission measurements to better define the levels of asbestos emissions and
identify possible public exposures. Our review of the AACM 1 final report found
no mention of excursion sampling being used.
The NAA letter for the AACM 3 included the condition that the AACM 3 quality
assurance project plan incorporates recommendations from the AACM 1 peer
reviews to ensure that the experiment was protective of public health and the
environment. We have no evidence that the OECA verified that this precondition
was met. Our analysis of peer-review comments showed many unresolved concerns
regarding public health and the environment that were never addressed by the ORD
during the 12 years of the effort. When asked why the OECA granted the NAAs
without ensuring conditions were met, the then-OECA Associate Director, Office of
Civil Enforcement, Air Enforcement Division,4 said they typically give deference to
sister offices, and that they were relying on the NRMRL's demonstrations and
statements that AACM experiments would be protective.
EPA's Enforcement Discretion Left Key Issues Unresolved
At least three methods—Project XL, the ADP and the NESHAP—have controls
in place that would have required that significant issues identified during the
AACM experiments be resolved before receiving approval to conduct the
experiments. Although the NAA letters that the OECA issued for AACM
experiments included preconditions for approval, the letters did not mention the
existing internal issues with the experiments. Further, there is no evidence that
4 This individual is currently the Deputy Director of the Office of Civil Enforcement.
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the OECA verified the resolution of the preconditions and internal issues, or
obtained concurrence from the offices that were impacted.
The Key Issue Was Equivalent Emissions
For the A ACM research, the main unresolved issue was how to demonstrate
equivalent emissions to the asbestos NESHAP. During the method development
in 1999, Project XL work group members identified the need to determine
equivalency as a major issue. The EPA offices involved—including Region 6,
ORD, OECA, OAR, and the Office of Policy Economics and Innovation—
left the issue of equivalency unresolved while allowing the research on the
experiments to go forward for 12 years. Consequently, the EPA could not use the
resulting data to propose NESHAP amendments, because known NESHAP
equivalency problems with Project XL and AACM experiments remained
unaddressed.
Only the OAR, as the administrator of the NESHAP, can clarify what constitutes
equivalent asbestos emissions. Without this definition, the ORD could not
develop an experimental design that met the OAR's needs. However, the steps to
obtain a definition from the OAR and information needed are not clear. The
NESHAP regulation provides limited details on what information should
accompany an application, and the OAR has no guidance or procedures for
submissions. Due to the lack of resolution on how to demonstrate equivalent
emissions to the asbestos NESHAP, and the lack of guidance on the procedures
for application submissions, the EPA could not use the resulting data to propose
NESHAP amendments.
Conclusions
The EPA's selection of enforcement discretion enabled the ORD and Region 6 to
continue with the AACM experiments without the benefit of leadership from the
Office of Policy, and without obtaining consensus among the other stakeholders.
Removing the AACM tests from processes such as Project XL and the ADP
eliminated the requirement for stakeholders' consensus. This choice eliminated
critical internal controls in the research process because stakeholders had
identified significant impediments. By not addressing stakeholder-identified
impediments, Region 6 and the ORD continued down a path that would not
achieve the rule-making goal. Had the EPA continued with Project XL, the ADP,
or initiated the NESHAP process, the AACM research would have had stronger
internal controls.
The OECA's decision to grant enforcement discretion, contrary to policy and
without verifying that the AACM complied with conditions for granting
enforcement discretion, demonstrates a breakdown in the OECA's management
controls. If the OECA management controls had been followed, the office would
have known that enforcement discretion was not appropriate for AACM
experiments. Further, the lack of an OAR equivalent emissions target to measure
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the effectiveness of AACM research severely limited the chance for the AACM
to be successful. Consequently, the AACM experiments could have been
modified or terminated sooner. The EPA's current policies and procedures do not
appear to address these issues and would not prevent a reoccurrence on other
research projects.
Recommendations
The Deputy Administrator should:
1.	Require that all nationally significant research, and research conducted to
support a rule-making, enter and follow a process that includes oversight
and input from agency senior leadership; those familiar with the rule-
making process; and individuals familiar with applicable and relevant
legal and policy requirements.
The Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance should:
2.	Require all NAA letters to state that a review was performed to identify
methods other than enforcement discretion and that no other methods
were found.
3.	Provide notice to all EPA offices that an NAA letter is being proposed
and require documented feedback from all offices.
4.	Verify information provided to support the NAA letter request.
5.	Document compliance with the provisions of the NAA letter (both
pre- and post-issuance).
The Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation should:
6.	Establish a process for the submission, review and approval of alternative
NESHAP emission control methods.
Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Evaluation
We received a response to the draft report from the Deputy Administrator along
with technical comments from OAR, ORD, and OECA. Appendices A and B
contain the agency's comments on the recommendations and their technical
comments, respectively, along with the OIG's detailed responses.
The EPA agreed with our recommendations and provided corrective actions that
are sufficient to meet the intent of the OIG recommendations.
Recommendations 1 through 6 are resolved. Recommendations 1 through 5 are
closed with completion dates of October 2012 and August 2014, while
Recommendation 6 is open with corrective action pending.
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Chapter 3
Management Practices at EPA's Office of Research
and Development Were Ineffective for AACM Research
The ORD's management allowed the AACM experiments to bypass agency
controls designed to ensure that experiments would be relevant, conducted
appropriately, and useful to the EPA and the public. Actions taken by the ORD
undermined the AACM research and led to the termination of the AACM
research in 2011. The ORD's NRMRL management and staff:
•	Disregarded agency guidance and procedures by not entering the AACM
experiments into the ORD's research planning process.
•	Did not ensure compliance with NESHAP equivalency.
•	Did not address significant comments and concerns as detailed in this
report.
As a result, the AACM experiments provided no benefit. The NRMRL did not:
•	Comply with health and safety requirements, and a lack of consideration
of environmental impacts led to the potential exposure of workers and the
public.
•	Ensure quality and accuracy in the collection of evidence regarding costs,
which led to the publication of the AACM 1 report with unsupported
conclusions.
•	Provide oversight of the AACM experiments, which resulted in the use of
staff time and agency resources that might have been applied to other
research.
ORD Did Not Provide Effective Oversight of AACM Research
The ORD's NRMRL did not provide effective oversight of the AACM research
when it did not enter the AACM experiments into its research planning process,
did not request a definition of equivalency from OAQPS to ensure compliance
with NESHAP equivalency, and did not address stakeholder and reviewer
concerns regarding the experiment design and results. The NRMRL's oversight
of these key areas would have helped to ensure that the tests were properly
conducted and that relevant data was collected.
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Research Planning Process
The ORD's research planning process develops multiyear plans to outline its
program goals, outcomes and key products. These plans are used to convey the
overall research direction for each of its six research programs' vision, priorities
and connection to the EPA strategic plan. On an annual basis, each of the
research programs develops research products and outputs to be delivered based
on appropriated funding levels. This higher level of planning strengthens the
ORD's research planning process to be, among other things, more responsive to
the EPA's mission, timely and more transparent.
The ORD's research is typically entered into these plans, but labs can conduct
"ad hoc" research if the lab director believes that research falls within broader
goals. Although AACM experiments were responsive to a need identified by
Region 6, the lack of entry into the ORD's planning process meant that the
AACM experiments bypassed program office strategic planning and
management oversight. This decision by ORD management affected the quality,
support and overall success of the project.
Research Funding
Entering the AACM research into the ORD's research planning process could
have addressed funding issues. On an annual basis, each research program
develops research products and outputs based on appropriated funding levels.
In the case of the AACM research, despite the lack of entry into the ORD's
planning process, the AACM work group obtained funding from various offices
and the Regional Geographic Initiative.5 The NRMRL reported that it spent at
least $2.29 million of EPA funds on the AACM experiments from 2004 through
2009. This amount included nearly $2.2 million in contractor costs and more
than $140,000 in travel expenses. However, these amounts do not capture the full
research cost.6 If the ORD had a method for capturing these contributions at the
project level, that method would have enabled the EPA to account for and report
the total AACM costs.
AACM Funding Inconsistencies
Despite the availability of research funds, the AACM research still experienced
inconsistent funding that may have affected the quality of the experiments by
limiting the types of activities the ORD could undertake. Specifically, to reduce
costs, the NRMRL altered the AACM research design by foregoing the side-by-
side comparison test design used in the AACM 1, and instead conducted a
5	The EPA established the Regional Geographic Initiative in 1994 to support the EPA's regional offices' place-
based approaches to environmental problems unique to the regions and unaddressed by existing national programs.
Initiative funding ranged from $8.4 million to $12.7 million per year until funding was eliminated by Congress in
fiscal year 2008 due to "continued concerns about the scope and purpose of the program."
6	The ORD does not collect data to show portions paid by other entities, such as contributions from the Fort
Chaffee Redevelopment Authority in Arkansas, and the city of Fort Worth, Texas.
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single-building demolition for the AACM 2 and the AACM 3. This choice meant
that comparative data was not available to defend the NRMRL's hypothesis that
the AACM is equivalent to the current NESHAP method.
Accounting for Staff Costs
The NRMRL cannot fully account for the cost of the AACM experiments
because the NRMRL does not track the number of staff hours spent on projects.
This missing accounting control leaves the NRMRL unable to calculate the full
cost of any research project and limits the agency's oversight of the NRMRL's
accountability for resources. For example, the NRMRL reported that from 2005
through 2012, a total of 11 staff worked on the AACM experiments at least part
time. These staff represented almost nine full-time equivalents, or approximately
$1.2 million dollars. However, these 11 NRMRL staff may represent those with
the greatest contribution to the AACM effort. Our review found that the Fort
Worth Method and AACM experiments involved more than 200 EPA staff in
some way.
NRMRL Did Not Request a NESHAP Equivalency Definition
The NRMRL did not request a definition of NESHAP equivalency from the
OAR, which is the program office responsible for recommending and processing
the approval of an alternate method. The NRMRL program manager for the
AACM, now retired, told us that he created his own measure of equivalency
when the OAR did not agree with the plans. He also noted that he was not a
regulator and that the research team may not have known enough about
equivalency and rule-making requirements. Consequently, the NRMRL executed
the AACM experiments with no means to assess NESHAP equivalency. This
action may have put the health of people near the experiment at risk and does not
support an effective use of public funds and resources.
Project XL Issues Remained Unresolved
The NRMRL also failed to address specific stakeholder issues associated with
the experiments. The ORD's research process encourages collaboration with
program offices prior to and during research to improve the quality and
usefulness of ORD products. Peer reviewers and work group members
repeatedly raised the same issues over the course of the Fort Worth Method.
A 2004 facilitated meeting of the Fort Worth Method work group (comprised of
many of the same staff as the AACM work group) identified and documented
32 internal issues with the Fort Worth Method. We found that peer reviewers in
2007 again raised almost identical issues for the AACM 1 experiment.
Table 1 shows some of the similar concerns identified in 2004 and 2007. This
comparison indicates that the ORD did not require the NRMRL to resolve issues
the work group and peer reviewers raised during the Fort Worth Method version
of the method as a condition for commencing AACM experiments. The decision
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not to resolve these issues negatively affected the experiments because these
issues go to the heart of experimental design as related to safety, compliance
with the law, and the ability of the experiments to decide the merits of the
proposed alternative method.
Table 1: Comparison of experimental design concerns from the Fort Worth
Method (2004) and the AACM (2007)
Fort Worth Method facilitated meeting
comments (2004)
AACM 1 report's peer-review
comments (2007)
There are questions about the variability
and "effectiveness of ambient air
monitoring" to measure asbestos release.
"Air sampling results used to compare
the two methods were inconclusive."
Lack of details about how the "Fort Worth
Method satisfied OSHA requirements,"
including why proposals for worker
"exposure-based monitoring" were not in
the plan.
Did not "properly cite the appropriate
regulations" to show compliance with
OSHA rules, including the type of
"respiratory protection and protective
clothing" used by workers.
There is a "lack of storm water run/on
run/off and soil infiltration controls."
There is a lack of soil samples taken
"pre- and post" NESHAP abatement,
lack of details on how to collect the
amended wastewater, and whether
Clean Water Act regulations apply to
asbestos.
There are "no data to verify cost savings."
"Understatement of AACM costs" and
"overstatement of NESHAP costs."
Source: OIG review of EPA-provided documents.
NRMRL Did Not Adequately Address Health and Environmental
Issues in AACM Experiments
The NRMRL's experimental design for the AACM did not adequately address
health and safety issues for workers and the public, or consider potential
environmental impacts. As late as 2010, there were 12 outstanding health and
safety questions identified by the NRMRL's Safety, Health and Environmental
Management Office and other EPA offices. The NRMRL management and staff
commented to the ORD Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science that health
and safety questions were outside the scope of the project. There were
unresolved questions about the work area, level of worker respiratory protection,
and the addition of weight to a building in imminent danger of collapse.
In EPA letters written to people potentially exposed to asbestos as a result of the
AACM experiments in 2013,7 the NRMRL admitted that it was unable to
produce data required to quantify asbestos exposure levels associated with the
AACM experiments. During our review, the NRMRL reported that it had
7 The letters are in response to our December 2011 Early Warning Report (Report No. 12-P-0125) previously cited.
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updated its procedures for the review and approval of health and safety plans,
and hired additional staff. However, there are still no procedures in ORD
guidance or policy specifically requiring research teams to identify job-specific
regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and proper contractor oversight.
The NRMRL officials also cannot verify the completion of the environmental
review and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the AACM, as required by
the ORD NEPA policy, and 40 CFR Part 6.8 The environmental review ensures
federal actions, including research experiments, consider the environmental
effects on test environments. A former NRMRL AACM program manager, who
is now retired, told us that the NRMRL left employees to their own resolve with
respect to NEPA requirements, and that NRMRL contractors typically handled
NEPA requirements and the EIS. In fact, the former program manager noted that
his people did not understand NEPA.
NESHAP Violations Occurred Outside the Statute Of Limitations
Region 6 did not request an NAA letter from the OECA for the AACM 2
experiment in July 2007. Instead, the NRMRL obtained a declaration from the
city of Fort Smith, Arkansas, which stated that the asbestos-containing building
scheduled for demolition was structurally unsound. This declaration allowed the
NRMRL to demolish the building under the NESHAP's imminent collapse
provision. However, the NRMRL then added more than 3 tons of Transite®, an
asbestos-cement product, to the building to increase the building's asbestos
levels. Without an NAA letter from the OECA, all environmental laws would
have applied to the AACM 2 demolition. The purpose of the NESHAP is to
reduce emissions and adding 3 tons of Transite® increases emissions. Therefore,
this is a NESHAP violation. Further, the addition of more than 3 tons of
Transite®, increases the weight on the unsound structure. Therefore the
imminent danger of collapse designation does not appear to be supported.
According to 42 U.S. Code (U.S.C.) § 7413, potential penalties for NESHAP
violations include written warnings, fines, and in some instances jail time. The
OECA needed to determine the applicability of any penalty in this instance.
OECA responded that the statute of limitations had expired on this issue. Upon
further examination of this issue, we agree.
8 We believe the most applicable subsection in the EIS regulation is Title 40 CFR §6.207(a)(3)(vii), which states
that an EIS is normally required when "[t]he proposed action involves uncertain enviromnental effects or highly
unique enviromnental risks that are likely to be significant."
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Lack of Pre-discharge Testing Enhanced Possibility of Clean Water
Act and CERCLA 103 Violations
The EPA's National Recommended Water Quality Criteria, which EPA issues
pursuant to Section 304(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), have limits on the
discharge of certain contaminants into the waters of the United States. For
asbestos, the maximum contaminant level developed under the Safe Drinking
Water Act is no more than 7 million fibers (longer than 10 micrometers) per liter.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
(CERCLA), § 103 [42 U.S.C. § 9603], requires the reporting of hazardous
substance spills or releases beyond a certain quantity into the environment.
Further, the law requires the individual in charge of a facility to immediately
notify the National Response Center of a hazardous substance release that is
equal to or in excess of its reportable quantity. For asbestos, the reportable
quantity is 1 pound of asbestos fibers released in a 24-hour period. However, the
AACM project team was not aware of the legal limit on asbestos discharge.
During the peer review of the AACM 1 report, the now-retired NRMRL program
manager said he believed that no regulations existed on the discharge of asbestos
into water.
Prior to filtration, the runoff water from the AACM 1 and AACM 2 experiments
significantly exceeded CWA discharge limits and CERCLA reportable quantity
for asbestos. For example, the AACM 1 report lists asbestos concentrations in
the wastewater as 30.4 million structures/liter, and the AACM 2 report listed an
average asbestos waste water concentration of 1,240 million structures/liter. The
NRMRL did filter the runoff water, but did not test the filtered water to confirm
that the water complied with CWA and CERCLA requirements prior to
discharge. Therefore, the NRMRL has no evidence that the wastewater
discharged from the AACM 1 or AACM 2 complied with the CWA and
CERCLA. The experiments may have discharged potentially noncompliant
wastewater into the public sewer.
Cost Conclusions of the AACM 1 Report Were Unsupported
The NRMRL published the AACM 1 report and concluded that the AACM
method is more cost effective than the current NESHAP method. However, peer-
review comments and our attempts to verify cost figures found that the
NRMRL's conclusions about costs are unsupported and unverifiable. Errors
related to costs undermine one of the AACM experiment's primary
objectives—to assess whether the AACM is more cost effective than the
NESHAP method when considering all costs.
The AACM 1 report stated that the cost of the NESHAP method was twice the
cost of the AACM method. However, peer reviewers and the public raised
questions of bias and provided supporting data suggesting the underreporting of
the AACM costs and the overreporting of NESHAP method costs. Our review of
data provided by outside reviewers shows that the NESHAP method was $1,300
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less than the AACM method. We also found inaccuracies and a lack of
documentation to support the AACM 1 report's cost conclusions. For example,
we were unable to verify asbestos waste amounts for each building, the cost of
labor for site mobilization, or verify the time it took to conduct demolitions. The
cost issues raised by those outside the EPA, in addition to our review, suggest
that the AACM 1 report's conclusions about costs are not supportable because
the EPA did not capture enough quality data to verify actual costs. These errors
resulted in a published report that leads readers to conclude that the AACM is a
significantly less costly method.
AACM 2 and AACM 3 Reports Contained Cost Errors
Draft reports for the AACM 2 and AACM 3 experiments also included cost
conclusions that lacked appropriate support. For the AACM 2, there were
discrepancies with total landfill disposal charges and the number of hours
worked. The July 14, 2008, AACM 2 draft report approved by the NRMRL
quality assurance officer stated that the NESHAP method was approximately
$3,700 cheaper than the AACM. However, these figures were different in the
July 21, 2008, version sent to peer reviewers. This version showed the AACM
method as almost equal to the NESHAP, with a difference of about $700, which
made the AACM slightly less costly.
The largest change in cost between these versions was an unexplained reduction
in the AACM disposal cost of about $7,400 from what was approved by the
quality assurance officer. Interviews with NRMRL staff regarding this
discrepancy did not identify a cause for this change. The now retired NRMRL
program manager could not explain how or why cost figures changed. He said
they worked on the reports for "thousands of hours," were rushing to get the
reports out, and took responsibility for any inaccurate information in the draft.
Conclusions
Ineffective ORD oversight enabled the AACM to be conducted outside of the
ORD planning and budgeting process, and left the AACM disconnected from the
EPA's strategic plan goals. Conducting the AACM outside of the normal
management control process led to inconsistent funding support and
experimental design changes that sacrificed comparative demolition data
between the AACM and NESHAP processes.
Key decisions on health and safety issues and how to decide equivalency were
allowed to go unresolved. Specifically, the NRMRL created and implemented a
plan that missed relevant and important CWA and CERCLA § 103 requirements,
did not capture costs, potentially exposed workers and the public to unsafe levels
of asbestos, and may have violated the NESHAP. Consequently, the NRMRL
could not produce reports to answer the fundamental question of whether the
proposed alternative is better and less expensive than the NESHAP method.
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There are no current policies and procedures that address these issues and that
would serve to prevent a reoccurrence on other research projects.
Recommendations
The Assistant Administrator for Research and Development should:
7.	Require the entry of all research into the ORD's planning process.
8.	Obtain and utilize an automated system to track costs (including
full-time-equivalent hours) allocated to each research project.
9.	Capture and record in-kind contributions to research projects (including
contributions from outside entities and interoffice entities) in the
automated system.
10.	Establish policy and procedures to track, reply to and resolve internal
review comments for each research proj ect.
11.	Update research design guidance to include steps that identify rules,
regulations and training that applies to each research project, especially
work conducted outside of the laboratory.
Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Evaluation
We received a response to the draft report from the Deputy Administrator along
with technical comments from OAR, ORD, and OECA. Appendices A and B
contain the agency's comments on recommendations and their technical
comments, respectively, along with the OIG detailed responses.
Although the agency stated it agreed with our recommendations, the ORD
response to Recommendation 8 described its efforts to establish meaningful
baselines for research projects but did not meet the intent to track costs for each
research project. The ORD proposed action does not capture the actual costs of
research, which is the weakness addressed in this report. Therefore,
Recommendation 8 is unresolved with resolution efforts in progress.
Recommendation 7 is closed with a completion date of October 2012.
Recommendations 9, 10 and 11 are resolved and open with corrective actions
pending.
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Status of Recommendations and
Potential Monetary Benefits
POTENTIAL MONETARY
RECOMMENDATIONS	BENEFITS (In $000s)
Rec.
No.
Page
No.
Subject
Status1
Action Official
Planned
Completion
Date
Claimed Agreed To
Amount Amount
1
13
Require that all nationally significant research, and
research conducted to support a rule-making, enter
and follow a process that includes oversight and
input from agency senior leadership; those familiar
with the rule-making process; and individuals
familiar with applicable and relevant legal and
policy requirements.
C
Deputy Administrator
10/31/12

2
13
Require all NAA letters to state that a review was
performed to identify methods other than
enforcement discretion and that no other methods
were found.
C
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
8/30/14

3
13
Provide notice to all EPA offices that an NAA letter
is being proposed and require documented
feedback from all offices,
c
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
8/30/14

4
13
Verify information provided to support the NAA
letter request.
c
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
8/30/14

5
13
Document compliance with the provisions of the
NAA letter (both pre- and post-issuance).
c
Assistant Administrator for
Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance
8/30/14

6
13
Establish a process for the submission, review and
approval of alternative NESHAP emission control
methods.
0
Assistant Administrator for
Air and Radiation
3/31/15

7
21
Require the entry of all research into the ORD's
planning process.
c
Assistant Administrator for
Research and Development
10/31/12

8
21
Obtain and utilize an automated system to track
costs (including full-time-equivalent hours)
allocated to each research project.
u
Assistant Administrator for
Research and Development


9
21
Capture and record in-kind contributions to
research projects (including contributions from
outside entities and interoffice entities) in the
automated system
0
Assistant Administrator for
Research and Development
11/30/2015

10
21
Establish policy and procedures to track, reply to
and resolve internal review comments for each
research project.
0
Assistant Administrator for
Research and Development
9/30/15

11
21
Update research design guidance to include steps
that identify rules, regulations and training that
applies to each research project, especially work
0
Assistant Administrator for
Research and Development
9/30/15

conducted outside of the laboratory.
1 0 = Recommendation is open with agreed-to corrective actions pending.
C = Recommendation is closed with all agreed-to actions completed.
U = Recommendation is unresolved with resolution efforts in progress.
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Appendix A
Agency Response to Draft Report and OIG Comments
The text of the EPA response along with our analysis is provided below.
MEMORANDUM
SUBJECT: Response to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Draft Report,
Project No. OPE-FY12- 0011, dated May 30, 2014
FROM: Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator
TO:	Arthur A. Elkins, Jr., Inspector General Office of Inspector General
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) draft
report, Project No. OPE-FY 12-0011, dated May 30, 2014. The EPA's Office of Research and
Development (ORD) initiated the Alternative Asbestos Control Method (AACM) experiments,
which occurred in 2006 and 2007, in part to respond to the needs of EPA program and regional
offices, as well as external stakeholders. As the report notes, these experiments are no longer
occurring.
An important priority for the EPA is protecting people from exposure to harmful substances
such as asbestos where they live, work, and engage in recreation. Since the experiments were
conducted, the EPA has made significant changes to its research planning process and has taken
many steps to ensure the safety and health of its employees and contractors, as well as the
American people. The EPA continuously strives to improve its research protocols and
processes to achieve the highest possible scientific standards to best protect the American
public and our environment.
Our responses to the report recommendations are below. The EPA is also providing an
attachment containing technical comments on the content of the report. In general, EPA
concurs with the OIG recommendations. However, the mechanisms cited by the OIG, including
the Action Development Process (ADP), the asbestos NESHAP and the use of enforcement
discretion, are not appropriate for providing oversight and planning of research projects. We
request that the OIG reexamine the report's content based upon our comments, including the
description of the relationship between the Agency's research and regulatory activities.
OIG Recommendation 1: Require that all nationally significant research, and research
conducted to support a ride-making, enter and follow a process that includes oversight and
input fi'om agency senior leadership; those familiar with the ride-making process; and
individuals familiar with applicable and relevant legal and policy requirements.
Corrective Action 1: EPA Concurs with this recommendation.
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EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) has made significant changes to the
research planning process. The process requires that all nationally significant research be
reflected. The research planning process includes oversight and input from senior managers
and others familiar with the regulatory statutes and legal and policy requirements.
Throughout the life cycle of research and development, from planning to product delivery,
interactions occur between ORD and its partners at every organizational level, to ensure that
the products are relevant, responsive, and timely in support of EPA's mission.
Corrective Action: Implementation of ORD Planning and Accountability Processes
Planned Completion Date: October 2012.
OIG Recommendation 2: Require all NAA letters to state that a review was performed to
identify methods other than enforcement discretion and that no other methods were found.
Corrective Action 2: These recommendations are no longer applicable. OECA will
formally revise its "Policy Against 'No Action' Assurances" to remove the provision stating
that an NAA may be appropriate to obtain "information for research purposes."
Planned Completion Date: August 30, 2014
OIG Recommendation 3: Provide notice to all EPA offices that an NAA letter is being
proposed and require documentedfeedback f~om all offices.
Corrective Action 3: These recommendations are no longer applicable. OECA will
formally revise its "Policy Against 'No Action' Assurances" to remove the provision stating
that an NAA may be appropriate to obtain "information for research purposes."
Planned Completion Date: August 30, 2014
OIG Recommendation 4: Verify information provided to support the NAA letter request.
Corrective Action 4: These recommendations are no longer applicable. OECA will
formally revise its "Policy Against 'No Action' Assurances" to remove the provision stating
that an NAA may be appropriate to obtain "information for research purposes."
Planned Completion Date: August 30, 2014
OIG Recommendation 5: Document compliance with the provisions of the NAA letter (both
pre- and post-issuance).
Corrective Action 5: These recommendations are no longer applicable. OECA will
formally revise its "Policy Against 'No Action' Assurances" to remove the provision stating
that an NAA may be appropriate to obtain "information for research purposes."
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Planned Completion Date: August 30, 2014
OIG Recommendation 6: Establish a process for the submission, review and approval of
alternative NESHAP emission control methods.
Corrective Action 6: EPA Concurs with this recommendation.
We will establish a process to review applications for equivalency determinations.
On 23 July 2014, the Office of Air and Radiation provided further clarification stating that:
OAR will establish a process to review applications for equivalency determinations
based on the current Action Development Process (ADP). These determinations would
include notice and comment rulemaking as required by the Asbestos NESHAP. The
review process based on the ADP will provide for both external and internal stakeholder
involvement. Information on this process, including the appropriate contact point for
receiving requests, will be located on OAR's current Asbestos NESHAP website.
Planned Completion Date: 2nd Quarter FY 2015
OIG Recommendation 7: Require the entry of all research into the ORD's planning process.
Corrective Action 7: EPA concurs with this recommendation.
We agree with the OIG recommendation to require that all nationally significant research
that ORD undertakes be included in the planning process. In the years since the AACM
experiments were conducted, ORD has significantly changed its planning to include all
nationally significant research in the new planning process. We note, however, that there
are occasions when ORD is called upon to respond to unanticipated situations, such as the
Deepwater Horizon incident, or the recent chemical spill in West Virginia. These situations
may require that ORD respond promptly to address public health and environmental
emergencies. While these projects are carefully planned and executed, time constraints
may preclude inclusion in the formal planning process.
Corrective Action: Implementation of ORD Planning and Accountability Processes
Planned Completion Date: October 2012
OIG Recommendation 8: Obtain and utilize an automated system to track costs (including
full-time-equivalent hours) allocated to each research project.
Corrective Action 8: EPA concurs with this recommendation.
ORD agrees with the need to enhance internal controls, including allocations, and has
addressed this issue with our response and concurrence with OIG Recommendations #1, #7 and
#9. The improved internal process outlined under that response ensures that all ORD research
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projects are being appropriately tracked and planned to prevent similar incidents related to
OIG's findings regarding the AACM studies.
OIG Response 8: We have reviewed the ORD comments and met with ORD
personnel on this issue. The ORD efforts to establish meaningful baselines for its
projects is a good first step in measuring performance. However, we determined,
and ORD personnel confirmed, that their proposal does not capture actual cost data,
which is the weakness discussed in this report. Absent the actual costs, ORD has no
means to determine the efficiency and actual costs of its research projects. The OIG
and agency have not agreed on a course of action to remedy and/or address the
recommendation. The status of this recommendation is unresolved with resolution
efforts in progress.
OIG Recommendation 9: Capture and record in-kind contributions to research projects
(including contributions from outside entities and interoffice entities) in the automated system.
Corrective Action 9: EPA concurs with this recommendation.
ORD has made significant changes to the research planning process and requires that all
nationally significant research, including research conducted to support rule making, is included
in this new process. Consistent with our responses to Recommendations # 1, #7, and #8, ORD
will now capture significant EPA contributions to ORD research projects. We believe this
addresses the critical management and oversight control process issues identified by the OIG.
With modification, existing EPA systems will allow us to achieve the controls to track the
contributions mentioned above although they do not capture expenditure data.
At this time, the Agency does not have the legal authority to develop binding agreements to
require this information from outside entities when no money is exchanged. Financial reporting
on in-kind contributions by outside entities is only done when statutorily required and when
funding is exchanged, such as through assistance agreements. However, in most instances,
collaborative work is accomplished through the use of vehicles such as a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU), where funds are not exchanged. An MOU is a signed and legally non-
binding document that describes the intention of the alliance members to work together to
address a shared development challenge. EPA can request cost information related to in-kind
contributions within these agreements, but it is not a legally binding requirement.
Planned Completion Date: November 30, 2015
OIG Recommendation 10: Establish policy and procedures to track, reply to and resolve
internal review comments for each research project.
Corrective Action 10: EPA concurs with this recommendation.
ORD is committed to appropriately resolving all internal comments received on its research.
We currently have in place several processes that allow for review of ORD's research, including
management review up to the Associate Lab or Associate Center Director. For some research,
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ORD carefully tracks and responds to comments received during internal review. ORD will
expand this approach to cover all nationally significant research.
Corrective Action: ORD will develop a process applicable across ORD for tracking comments
received and their resolution.
Planned Completion Date: 4th quarter, 2015
OIG Recommendation 11: Update research design guidance to include steps that identify
rides, regulations and training that applies to each research project, especially work conducted
outside of the laboratory.
Corrective Action 11: EPA concurs with this recommendation.
It is ORD's policy to comply fully with Federal and EPA policies, procedures, manuals and
directives, as well as all applicable, federal, state, and local rules and regulations. Currently, our
ORD labs have procedures for the review of project specific health, safety, and environmental
plans to ensure compliance. To standardize these procedures across the organization, ORD-
wide guidance that builds upon our existing procedures will be enhanced. This will involve
updating and enhancing our current practices regarding the identification of applicable safety,
health, and environmental rules, regulations and training that applies to research projects.
Revised Corrective Action: To standardize ORD safety, health, and environmental
management procedures across the organization, ORD-wide guidance that builds upon our
existing safety, health, and environmental management procedures will be enhanced.
Completion Date: 4th Quarter FY 2015
OIG Recommendation 12: Assess whether penalties are warrantedfor violating the NESHAP
in the AACM 2 experiment.
Corrective Action 12: Penalties cannot legally be assessed against any party in this matter. As
noted on Page 5 of the draft report, "The AACM 2 demolition experiment occurred on July 28,
2007, on a two-story, World War II-era building at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas." Under the federal
statute of limitations (28 U.S.C. § 2462), the 5-year limitations period for any potential
NESHAPs violations during the AACM 2 experiment expired in July 2012.
OIG Response 12: We agree with the statement that the statute of limitations has
expired. We removed the recommendation.
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Appendix B
Agency Technical Comments to Official Draft Report
and OIG Comments
ORD Technical Comments
Review Draft
Comment
Page 1,
Background, Line 1
Replace "safe" with "no known risk-free." Safety is a
concept in this case determined by statute. For example,
EPA has determined that the level of asbestos associated
with the current NESHAP "protects public health with an
ample margin of safety," as required by the Clean Air Act,
even though that level is not risk-free.
OIG Response: EPA had documented that there is no
known safe level of exposure to friable asbestos
(http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ttox.html). Therefore the
change is appropriate.

Page 3, intra
sentence
Request revision of sentence to more clearly explain that
while the alternative method investigation was in progress
over a period of more than 10 years, the actual AACM
demolitions were conducted for only a few days over a 2
year period (2006 and 2007). An alternative could be:
"The EPA assessment of an alternative method to
demolish buildings containing asbestos began in 1999
with the introduction the Fort Worth Method under Project
XL, with actual demolitions using the AACM occurring in
2006 and 2007. The effort to evaluate an alternative
method terminated in 2011."
OIG Response: We added text to state that the actual
demolitions occurred over a few days in 2006 and 2007.

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Page 5, under
"ORD Cancels
Experiments"
For accuracy, please change "ORD Assistant
Administrator" to "Deputy Assistant Administrator for
Science."
OIG Response: Documentation indicates that the ORD
Assistant Administrator made the decision to terminate
based upon a request from the Deputy Assistant
Administrator. We will make that clarification.

Page 5. Last full
sentence
Request a change of text to read: "Our evaluation scope
spanned the design, conduct, reviews and subsequent
discussions relating to the AACM experiments from 2004
to 2012 ..." This language is requested clarify to the
reader that the actual experiments did not take place over
an eight year period.
OIG Response: We clarified that the experiments took
place in 2006 and 2007 and the research ended in 2011
with the decision from the ORD Assistant Administrator.
We do not include any subsequent administrative tasks
in 2012 as extending the research.

Pages 8-9
Request the draft be revised to clarify that the processes
to pursue regulatory changes to the asbestos NESHAP do
not specify or control the means of pursuing research on
alternatives to that regulation. The processes designed to
make regulatory changes (e.g., ADP) are not designed
(and are not used) to plan and design research. Neither
the ADP nor NESHAP provide mechanisms to conduct
research, nor the necessary controls to oversee research.
We request that the IG delete the section on the ADP and
add a section entitled "Research Planning Process."
Please refer to our earlier comments for possible
language to use.
OIG Response: The report language was modified to
show that had the EPA continued with Project XL or the
ADP, or initiated the NESHAP process, the AACM
research would have had stronger internal controls.
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Page 8, paragraph
1
The first sentence notes "3 regulatory methods" as means
to pursue changes to NESHAP. One of the methods
appears to be "Project XL." Request the IG revise this
section to reflect that Project XL was a research
mechanism with the intent to develop it with EPA
innovative strategies to test better or more cost-effective
ways of achieving environmental and public health
protection. While the results of XL projects could lead to
changes in EPA regulations, policies, or procedures,
Project XL was not a "regulatory method" or prescribed by
regulation.
OIG Response: We revised the text to state that three
mechanisms existed that would have forced stronger
internal controls over the AACM research had they been
followed throughout the research.

Page 8, paragraph
3
Insert after the first sentence: "It has since been
eliminated and stopped accepting new projects for
consideration in 2002."
OIG Response: We revised the report to language as
follows: EPA states that it has since been eliminated and
stopped accepting new projects for consideration.

Page 9-The Action
Development
Process
Request the IG consider revision or elimination of the
discussion of the ADP. The ADP is an EPA mechanism to
consider possible regulatory changes such as a change
the NESHAP, but it is not a mechanism to conduct or
manage research. Available research data would be an
input to the ADP, but would not be determined by the
ADP.
OIG Response: Please see our previous response on
this issue.
Request the last sentence in the first paragraph be
revised to reflect that the AACM proposal was entered
into the ADP process for an extremely short period of
time, and was quickly withdrawn. While "revisions to the
NESHAP" (a regulatory action) was "tiered" as a potential
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action for the ADP (SAN 5181: National Emissions
Standards for Asbestos - Amendments), it was withdrawn
quickly when the Agency determined sufficient information
was not available.
OIG Response: We added the documented reason for
the withdrawal for clarification. In 2008, the EPA's
Regulatory Information Notice Data for 2060-A064
stated the following reason for withdraw of the regulatory
action: "However, we determined that initiating this
action was premature because we had not completed
testing the AACM. Therefore, we have withdrawn this
action until all testing and evaluation of the test results,
including peer review, are complete."

Page 9 -10,
NESHAP approval
method section
After a technology or method has been demonstrated, a
party can apply for approval as an alternative measure to
NESHAP. Because the AACM research was not
successfully completed, no application as an alternative
measure was sent to EPA. The NESHAP alternative
method option permits the Administrator to approve an
alternate means of asbestos emission limitation if in the
Administrator's judgment, the alternative means will
achieve a reduction in emissions at least equivalent to
methods already approved and in use. This does not
prescribe a method to obtain this information nor is not a
means to conduct research. The NESHAP regulation only
provides an option for the Administrator to consider
research findings for a regulatory determination, i.e., that
this new method is equivalent to the existing standard.
Request the IG revise the report to reflect that NESHAP
regulations do not provide research overview or planning.
OIG Response: We have modified the report to state
that the NESHAP process would have forced EPA to
follow stronger internal controls for the AACM research if
that mechanism had been selected.

Page 10, last full
sentence
Please see prior comments concerning the ADP and
NESHAP. Also, please note that enforcement discretion
was required to conduct the research under any
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mechanism used. Due to the prescriptive work practice
standards of the NESHAP, testing of alternative methods
would require not following all of work practice standards
and thus violate NESHAP. Enforcement discretion was
necessary to allow the research. The 2 viable methods to
conduct research at that time were the research planning
process, and prior to 2002, Project XL.
OIG Response: That is speculative. What EPA has not
considered is that if the prior problems with the
research, identified internally, had been addressed, the
experiments may not have been allowed.

Page 11,
paragraph 3, 1 st
sentence
Please see prior comments concerning the ADP and
NESHAP.
OIG Response: Please see the prior OIG Response.

Page 12,
paragraph 1
Request the IG to revise the text to clarify that the
experiments were not ongoing over a 12 year period.
Suggested language " while allowing the design,
conduct, reviews and subsequent discussions relating to
the AACM experiments to continue for 12 years."
OIG Response: We revised the report text to indicate that
the research on the experiments continued for 12 years.
We have also added text stating that the experiments
took place over a few days in 2006 and 2007.

Page 12, paragraph
3, 2nd sentence
Please see prior comments concerning the ADP.
OIG Response: Please see the prior OIG Response.

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Page 14, 3rd bullet
ORD addressed many workgroup concerns and
comments. Request change text to read "Did not address
some reviewers concerns regarding the experiments."
OIG Response: We changed the text to read that ORD
did not address significant comments as detailed in the
report.

Page 15, first 2
paragraphs
Please use past tense in this paragraph, as this describes
the planning process as it was at the time of the AACM. It
has changed significantly since then.
OIG Response: No revision is necessary. We reviewed
ORD's Research Planning and Accountability Process
Overview and believe that our description of the
planning process still applies.
Page 16,
paragraph 2, last
sentence
Insert the word "may" as follows: "This action may have
put the health of people ..."
OIG Response: We revised the report as requested.

Page 17. Last
section, end of the
3rd sentence
Request insertion of the word "research" as follows: "...
health and safety questions were outside of the scope of
the research project." ORD agrees that all research
should follow appropriate health and safety regulations to
protect workers and others. The intent of the statement
was the AACM study was an engineering research study
to evaluate the environmental impacts and emissions of
an alternative asbestos control technology. The research
was not intended as a health and safety study.
OIG Response: We cannot support the revision. The
report states that EPA failed to consider health and
safety issues, not that the research was a health and
safety study.
Page 19, section on
"Potential Clean
Water Act
Violations"
The EPA's National Recommended Water Quality Criteria
include a recommended criterion for asbestos in waters of
the United States. The edits to this section below are
intended to clarify the section 304(a) program.
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The EPA's National Recommended Water Quality Criteria,
which EPA issues are published pursuant to Section
304(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), represent, among
other things, the level of various pollutants that may
be present in waters of the United States and still
ensure protection and propagation offish, shellfish,
and wildlife and recreation in and on the water have
limit0 on thp rli°ph^rnp of pprt^in pnnt^min^nt0 into thp
waters of the United States. For asbestos, the Agency's
recommended criterion is discharge limit is no more
than 7 million fibers (longer than 10 micrometers) per liter.
The AACM project team was not aware of the EPA's
national recommended criterion for asbestos legal
limit on asbestos discharge.
OIG Response: We will ensure that the language is
consistent with the text of the CWA. However, 7 million
fibers per liter is the legal limit because the state of
Arkansas has not prescribed a stricter limit than the
default federal limit.

Page 19, section on
"Potential CERCLA
103 Violations,"
end of first
paragraph
Request the IG add the word "friable" to this sentence: For
friable asbestos, the reportable quantity is 1 pound
released in a 24 hour period. The note in 40 CFR 302.4
says the 1 pound per 24-hour period only applies to friable
asbestos.
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OIG Response: We revised the sentence as follows: For
asbestos, the reportable quantity is 1 pound of asbestos
fibers released in a 24-hour period.
Title 40 CFR 302.4 does identify that the reportable
quantity for asbestos is 1 pound of friable asbestos in a
24-hour period. However, CERCLA does not define the
term friable. A 1990 OECA legal analysis concluded
friable under CERCLA does not have the same meaning
as defined under the Clean Air Act. OECA states that
friable under CERCLA means the release of pure
asbestos [e.g., asbestos fibers], because the reportable
quantity is restricted to the hazardous substance
component of a solution or mixture. Thus, the individual
asbestos fibers is the toxic component within the joint
compound matrix or Transite® cement-board matrix.

OAR Technical Comments
Review Draft
Comment
Page 1,
Background,
Paragraph 2
Suggest deletion of the following paragraph:
Rorttiirori NF^HAP Thp FPA rmrfp ifc
i V vUUII **U 1V01 IT II 1 V** V/O/vl/O¦ / / /U i	1 VI / / /uUU 1 L\J fuOl
rnmnrphpnc/\/p rp\//°/nn fn the* A/F^HAP in 1QQO

i i^fn) ff^ctflikc^cI fhit the* FPA rp\//PH/ fhta
A/cou/ip hi/ ^000 Thn FPAOffi/v* nf Air inrl Pirliifinn
fOAP) /° rp°nnn°/7*)/p fnr the* IKIF^HAP ^nri the*

Mp&LJAp mi/ipii/ inrj nthf^r ff^nniff^ri rp\//pii/c
Nothing in the paragraph seems to be germane to issues
raised by this review.
OIG Response: The information is necessary background
to understand that required updates to the asbestos
NESHAP are overdue because EPA states the
resources are not available.

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Page 1, last	The title of the following paragraph is misleading. EPA
Paragraph	offices have never "offered" NESHAP alternatives. We
have done research on different aspects of alternative
methods of removing asbestos containing material at the
request of outside entities.
OIG Response: The title has been changed to read EPA
Offices Researched NESHAP Alternatives.
Suggested edits: EPA Offices Offer NESHAP Alternatives.
In 1999, the city of Ft Worth proposed their method to
EPA. EPA offices have researched various alternative
demolition work-practice methods, such as the Fort Worth
Method and the AA CM, as alternatives to the current to
augment the asbestos NESHAP provisions. Both the Fort
Worth Method and the AACM of these methods involve
wetting the building prior to and during the demolition m
an effort to limit asbestos fiber release. Both of these
methods are similar to the NESHAP-approved provision
used for buildings that are structurally unsound and in
danger of imminent collapse (imminent collapse
provision). Under the imminent collapse provision,
demolition crews wet the RACM and shred remove it
using the demolition equipment.
The words "in an effort" need to be added because we
can't say the wetting really always perfectly minimizes the
amount of asbestos releases. In addition, the asbestos
material is not "shredded." It is removed using equipment
which will break the material, but does not shred it. The
term "shred" makes it look like we run the material through
a shredder.
OIG Response: The report has been revised to state that
wetting attempts to limit asbestos fiber release and the
demolition equipment is used to break the RACM.
Page 2, Last	Suggested Edits:
Paragraph
The City of Fort Worth Requests to use the Wet Method.
EPA Offices Proposed Wet Methods. The goal of the
AACM and the Fort Worth Method research was to
propose evaluate an alternative demolition procedures
that could then potentially be incorporated into the
asbestos NESHAP.
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The EPA offices did not propose the wet method. The wet
method was proposed by the City of Fort Worth.
OIG Response: The report has been revised to indicate
that the city of Fort Worth proposed the wet method.
However, documentation indicates that the purpose of
the work was to propose changes to the asbestos
NESHAP.

Page 4, 2nd
Paragraph, line 13
Suggested Edits:
The OIG also recommended the agency develop a single
auidance document for proposals under the Aoencv's
innovation strateciv which provides fundamental criteria
and is published in the Federal Register to ensure
national policy decisions are based on sound science.
As written, the omission of the added text made the
sentence confusing.
OIG Response: We made the suggested revision.

Pages 8-9 (Overall
Comments)
Please refer to our earlier comments by ORD and OAR.
Also, we suggest that you combine the NESHAP
Alternative Method Approval and the ADP into one
available method.
OIG Response: Please see the previous OIG comment
on this subject.

Page 12 (Sub-
heading)
Suggested Edits:
The Kev Issue Was How to Measure Environmental
Performance of the NESHAP versus the Wet Methods
Equivalent Emissions
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OIG Response: The requested revision is not supported.
As stated in the report, the key issue is equivalent
emissions regardless of the method used.

Page 12, 1st
Paragraph
In addition to the ORD comments on this paragraph, we
have the following suggested edits:
For AACM research, the main unresolved issue was how
to demonstrate equivalent measure emissions from the
two methods in a way that equivalency could be
determined. Emissions to the asbestos NESHAP. During
the development in 1999, Project XL workgroup members
identified the information needed need to determine the
environmental performance of the wet method relative to
the Asbestos NESHAP eauivalencv as a major issue.
The EPA offices involved, including Region 6, ORD,
OECA, OAR, and the Office of Policy Economics and
Innovation, left the issue of equivalency unresolved while
allowing the experiments to go forward for 12 years.
^nn°pn//pnf/\/ the* FPA nniilrl tint //°p the* rp°/iltinn fn
nmnn°p A/F^HAP ^?mpnr/mpnf° /ipp^/z^p known
A/F^HA P pn///\/^/pnn/ nrnh/p/nc with Prnic^ct V7 ^tnrl
1/lPM pYnpr/mpn/"0 rnmninnH i inirlrlrf^^^orl
We could not use the data because we had concerns
about the accuracy of the data, not because we had not
determined what equivalency was. We were planning to
determine equivalency as part of a future rulemaking.
OIG Response: The requested revision is not supported.
As stated in the report, the key issue is equivalent
emissions regardless of the method used.

Page 12, 2nd
Paragraph
Suggested Edits:
Only the OAR, as the administrator of the NESHAP, can
determine clarify what constitutes eauivalent asbestos
emissions. Without this definition, the ORD could not
wpi/p/nn PYnpn'mpnh/ r/p°/nn fhif /npf fhc* DAP;cs
needs. However, the steps to obtain a definition from the
OAR and information needed are not clear. The NESHAP
regulation provides limited details on what information
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should accompany an application, and the OAR has no
guidance or procedures for submissions. Due to this lack
propose NESHAP amendments.
We do not agree with the deleted sentence. If the
experimental design was able to adequately measure the
potential asbestos release (if any), then the project would
have been more successful. In addition, one of the
contributing reasons the project failed was because we
never could decide on equivalency. We had hoped to
determine the environmental performance of the AACM
relative to the current NESHAP. The reason we never
used the data was there were concerns about the
accuracy of the data. Also, if we had completed the AACM
2 and 3 reports, and we saw significant asbestos releases,
then it was understood by all parties involved that we
would have not continued on and proposed amendments
to the NESHAP.
OIG Response: We cannot make the suggested
revisions. As stated previously, equivalent emissions
was the key component to any proposed change to the
asbestos NESHAP and the EPA effort did not
adequately address the issue. Absent an understanding
of equivalent emissions from OAR early in the process,
it does not seem logical for EPA to expend resources
without a measurable end goal.

OECA Technical Comments
Review Draft
Comment
Page 1, 2nd
Paragraph
The draft report states: According to the asbestos
NESHAP, trained technicians must remove regulated
asbestos-containing material (RACM) intact prior to
demolition.
The asbestos NESHAP requires that an on-site supervisor
or foreman be trained, but there is no NESHAP training
requirement for the workers doing the asbestos removal.
See 40 C.F.R. § 61.145(c)(8) ("[N]o RACM shall be
stripped, removed, or otherwise handled or disturbed ...
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unless at least one onsite representative, such as a
foreman or management-level person or other authorized
representative, trained in the provisions of this regulation
and the means of complying with them, is present."). The
same assertion about trained technicians is made on
Page 2 of that chapter.
OIG Response: The requested revisions cannot be
made. To conduct an asbestos demolition, one has to
comply with the asbestos NESHAP and OSHA's
regulations. The other requirement for training is in the
OSHA regulation. The report will be revised to
emphasize that point.

Chapter 2, Page 10,
Heading: "No
Justification for
NAA Approval"
The draft report states that there was no supporting
documentation that provides an explanation of the
reasons justifying issuance of the NAA. However, for
clarity it should be noted that both NAAs issued for the
AACM projects referred to and relied on memoranda from
Region 6, which contained the justification and rationale
for the project.
OIG Response: The report refers to the OECA
requirements to issue a NAA, not the Region 6
justification and rationale for a project that could have
been accomplished without the NAA letters with more
controls. No changes made.

Chapter 2, Pages
11-12
The discussion in this section and related
recommendations regarding OECA's oversight role when
research is being conducted under an NAA raise a
number of organizational and jurisprudential
considerations. As a threshold matter, the discussion of
the level of oversight and verification for OECA to
determine that the AACM project's safety protocols were
adequate and protective, for example, would require
expertise and experience in the design and execution of
research projects. However, because research is not an
OECA function, OECA does not have this type of
technical expertise. Lacking this ability, OECA does not
believe that it is in a position to "second guess" another
part of the Agency to which the research role, function
and expertise is committed. While OECA does have
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scientific and engineering expertise, it is in the context of
its enforcement and compliance function - not in the
carrying out of the kind of research that was being
conducted for the AACM project. Similarly, verifying that
the quality assurance plan for the AACM 3 experiment
included adequate provisions to ensure compliance with
OSHA's worker excursion sampling regulations is likewise
not a matter committed to OECA's role or expertise.
Because OECA does not believe that it can be in a
position to oversee (and verify) research and
experimentation conducted by another part of the Agency,
OECA will not in the future provide NAAs for these
activities, and will revise its policy to remove the provision
stating that an NAA may be appropriate to obtain
"information for research purposes." In doing so, we
recognize that NAAs for this purpose are extremely
uncommon (the NAAs for the AACM projects appear to be
the only NAAs ever provided for ORD-related work),
indicating both that they are not generally necessary nor
do they serve a critical role in support of the Agency's
research and experimentation functions.
OIG Response: We appreciate the additional language
provided to support OECA's determination not to issue
an NAA for similar research activities.

Chapter 3, Page 18,
2nd paragraph
Suggested Edits:
The NRMRL officials also cannot verify the completion
applicability of the required environmental review and
normally requirements, includinq whether an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was completed for
the AACM, as set out in 40 CFR 6.200(a) and 40 CFR §
6.207(a) respectively, to satisfy the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).8 The Aq environmental
review under NEPA and EIS are documents that ensures
that federal actions, including research experiments,
consider and limit neqative the environmental effects on
test environments. However, in so far as the research was
conducted under Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, the
research would have been exempt from NEPA. A former
NRMRL program manager, who is now retired, told us
that the NRMRL left employees to their own resolve with
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respect to NEPA requirements, and that NRMRL
contractors typically handled NEPA requirements and the
EIS. In fact, the former program manager noted that his
people did not understand NEPA.
8 We believe the most applicable subsection in the EIS
regulation is 40 CFR 6.207(a}(3}(vii). That subsection
states that an EIS is normally required when "[t]he
proposed action involves uncertain environmental effects
or highly unique environmental risks that are likely to be
significant."
Our edits clarify the provisions of NEPA as well as the
CAA exemption pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Energy
Supply and Environmental Coordination Act of 1974 (15
U.S.C. 793(c)(1)). Further we point out that NEPA requires
Federal agencies to consider the environmental impacts
of their proposed actions; however, it does not specifically
require agencies to limit those impacts.
OIG Response: We adjusted the wording to reflect
ORD's policy and the requirements from 40 CFR Part 6,
but cannot make all the requested revisions.

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Appendix C
Distribution
Office of the Administrator
Deputy Administrator
Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Assistant Administrator for Research and Development
Agency Follow-Up Official (the CFO)
Agency Follow-Up Coordinator
General Counsel
Associate Administrator for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Associate Administrator for Public Affairs
Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation
Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research and Development
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of the Administrator
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Research and Development
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Air and Radiation
Audit Follow-Up Coordinator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
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