Dear Mr. Walser,
Responses to your questions appear below.
For clarity, please understand that there are two separate land owners at Jefferson Proving Grounds, and as the Lease Administrators the Army's authority exists over the government-owned land only.
Ford Lumber and Building Supply, LLC (Mr. Dean Ford) is the owner of about 3,000+ acres at JPG. Mr. Ford is responsible for hazardous spills on his property and should follow the guidelines as directed by the federal, state and local regulators who have jurisdiction over his property.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, is the lease administrator for the remaining acreage, and Mr. Ford is the Lessee, until such time as transfer. In accordance with the conditions of the Lease and the IFB the Lessee is required to obtain written approval before any disturbances are planned. The lessee is also responsible for cleanup of any and all hazardous spills on government property, in accordance with applicable Federal, state, and local regulations and laws.
Answers to your question:
1. Is the U.S. Army investigating the situation? If so, have there been any findings?
The Corps of Engineers, as lease administrator, is not the investigative or regulatory body for hazardous spills, thus the investigation is being handled by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
IDEM should be contacted regarding the investigation and its findings.
Mr. Ford has been notified to provide the Corps with the cleanup plan for the property that he does not own. Mr. Ford failed to obtain written approval for any disturbance that he has caused on government property.
2. Did the U.S. Army indicate to Mr. Ford at any time that the material was not dangerous or was in fact plaster?
In accordance with the Lease and Invitation For Bid (IFB), of which Mr.
Ford is the Lessee and winning bidder, it clearly states that the facilities contain asbestos. The government provides no warranties, no liability and urged inspection prior to bids. The environmental documents have been on file at JPG for review.
3. Did the U.S. Army indicate to Mr. Ford at any time that the pipe covering was asbestos? Did the U.S. Army issue any directives in regards to the removal of that material?
In accordance with the Lease and IFB, of which Mr. Ford is the Lessee and winning bidder, it clearly states that the facilities contain asbestos.
Additionally, the Lessee is required to obtain written approval before any disturbances are planned.
4. Did Mr. Ford ever notify the U.S. Army of his intention to remove any of the asbestos material from the site?
Mr. Ford did not notify the Corps of Engineers (lease administrator), of any plans to disturb a hazardous material on government owned property and did not receive written approval to do so.
Please don't hesitate to follow-up with me if you have additional questions or if I can provide additional details.