The Idaho Transportation Department, in a statement today about its second $50,000-plus fine in a year for demolishing an asbestos-laden building without taking any of the required precautions, said, “We share the EPA’s concern regarding workers, supervisors and public at large in terms of health risks posed by asbestos.” ITD spokesman Reed Hollinshead said the agency is working on a policy to ensure that all buildings are inspected for asbestos prior to demolition.
The building it demolished in Priest River last November was in the center of town, surrounded by businesses and homes and just one block from Priest River Junior High. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
ITD has had numerous environmental violations over the years. Among them: It was investigated by the EPA for violations relating to work on the Sand Creek Byway in Sandpoint in 2009; it was the target of an EPA lawsuit in federal court in 2006 for highway work that dumped tons of sediment into Lake Coeur d’Alene’s Mica Bay; and it conceded that a construction project on U.S. Highway 95 inflicted serious damage on four acres of wetlands and polluted Sand Creek in 1994 and paid penalties. During construction of I-90 in 1990, ITD lost a bulldozer and an earth mover into Lake Coeur d’Alene in a road collapse; both are there still.