(CN) – A group of residents who said improper asbestos removal from houses demolished to make way for a new airport runway do not have standing to sue, a federal judge in St. Louis ruled.
Families for Asbestos Compliance, Testing and Safety, sued the city of St. Louis and Lambert International Airport in 2005, claiming contractors’ use of a wet method to demolish buildings with asbestos was illegal.
The cheaper, wet method, essentially spraying the buildings with water to keep the asbestos fibers from becoming airborne, was approved by the St. Louis County Health Department, even though the practice violated federal regulations.
In September 2008, U.S. District Judge Carol Jackson ruled that the airport and St. Louis officials had violated federal regulations on 99 homes and that the county did not have the authority to approve demolition practices not allowed under federal regulations.
Airport and city lawyers challenged the group’s standing, prompting Jackson to switch course.
Jackson ruled that Families for Asbestos Compliance, Testing and Safety had to show that violations were occurring or imminent in order to have standing, and since the last wet demolition occurred in June 2004, neither situation applied.