Louisiana DEQ Denies Asbestos Allegations

A recent congressional report that criticized Louisiana officials for not doing enough to monitor the risk from asbestos in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina has come under fire from the state’s top Department of Environmental Quality official.

According to an article by the Associated Press, Mike McDaniel, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, called a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report critical of asbestos monitoring “riddled with unsubstantiated editorial comments, misleading statements and inaccuracies.”

He made those comments in a letter sent Thursday to the GAO, Congress’ investigative arm.

The report, which was released late last month, said that environmental regulators potentially exposed scores of residents, volunteers and workers to asbestos fibers by not doing more to monitor the contaminant in the cleanup after Katrina.

State officials countered, saying state that there has been an exhaustive effort to monitor for asbestos. The DEQ added that no measurable amounts of asbestos showed up in any of the more than 20,000 samples taken, mostly during demolitions.

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