Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) introduced the Common Sense Waiver Act -- legislation that ensures local governments have the authority they need to protect their citizens and keep their communities safe by working to make sure that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations do not hinder the removal of unsafe buildings.

“Small towns across the country have buildings that are a danger to our neighbors and a hazard to our environment,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Recently, the town of Malone, New York, brought this important issue to my attention as they face crumbling infrastructure and a specific building that may soon collapse into a local stream. Local governments know what is best for their communities and this legislation would ensure that local governments are able to take the appropriate action when the EPA will not. This was a priority of my predecessor, Congressman Bill Owens, and I am proud to introduce this legislation in the 114th Congress.”

"We thank Congresswoman Stefanik for listening to us and to our partners in Malone," said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "This proposal would do just what it says. Allow common sense to prevail when communities such as Malone, and many others dealing with collapsing structures, need to move quickly and cost effectively to address dangerous situations without compromising real environmental concerns. Public process needs to serve the public interest and not confound it, and this act is a practical step in that direction and can help North Country communities, taxpayers and residents."  

The Common Sense Waiver Act would allow, at the request of state or local government, the Administrator of the EPA to waive any emission standard or other requirement under section 112 of the Clean Air Act applicable to the control of asbestos emissions in the demolition or renovation of a building.

A requested waiver may be approved if the building is condemned or there is a reasonable expectation of the building’s structural failure. Additionally, all waivers must be approved or disapproved within 90 days. Any applications not responded to within 90 days will be deemed approved. Click here for text of the bill.