House Democrats blame GOP as asbestos ban stalls

House Democrats are accusing Republicans of holding up a bill to ban asbestos that had been expected to pass with little controversy this week.

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act exited committee with just one no vote and was expected to sail through the voting process without amendments.

But Democratic aides on the Energy and Commerce Committee say that progress has stalled as GOP lawmakers object to a provision that assures the legislation would have no impact on ongoing litigation over injuries tied to use of talcum powder.

“Everyone should be able to support a ban on this known carcinogen, which has no place in our consumer products or processes. More than 40,000 Americans die every year from asbestos exposure, but Republicans are willing to look the other way,” Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said in a statement.

“Republicans walked away from this opportunity to ban asbestos merely over language that prevents shutting the courtroom door. This raises serious questions about the sincerity of their intentions.”

Republicans on the committee did not respond to request for comment from The Hill.

Asbestos, tied to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, is still used in a surprising number of products despite its dangers, largely within the automotive sector along with other industrial uses. 

The bill bars the production, use and importation of asbestos, implementing a ban on the substance within a year of the its passage, with a few narrow exceptions.

The legislation would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act, which doesn’t deal with the cosmetic uses of asbestos being challenged in court.

A number of women have waged successful battles in court, arguing their ovarian cancer was linked to the use of asbestos-laced baby powder.

Democratic aides say they added the so-called savings clause “to make sure nothing in the bill would block the minority women who are primarily bringing suits over harm from cosmetic talc.”

The legislation moved ahead in Congress after the Environmental Protection Agency moved last year to restrict asbestos but stopped short of banning it outright.

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76 fuel pumps, 41 bathroom stalls and a beef jerky bar: Welcome to Wally’s | Local News

An 8,000-square-foot retail space offers proprietary shirts, hats, mugs, outdoors supplies and the usual items one might find at a truck stop.

But Wally’s isn’t a truck stop. That doesn’t mean truckers aren’t welcome, but Wally’s isn’t set up to accommodate tractor-trailers.

The differentiation from truck stops is by design, according to Rubenstein.

“They have showers on site and a separate truck entrance,” he said. “The maneuverability around a truck stop can be a little daunting for the family in the minivan, going down the road. That’s who we’re targeting.”

Originally from southwest of St. Louis, Rubenstein and Wally’s Chairman Chad Wallis have driven I-55 numerous times between their home area and Chicago. They noticed a family-oriented travel center didn’t appear to be along the route.

Pontiac checked a lot of boxes regarding an initial Wally’s location, Rubenstein said.

It isn’t too close to Chicago or St. Louis. Local officials were welcoming. And it’s along Old U.S. Route 66, which passes through Rubenstein and Wallis’ hometowns.

“The mother road of U.S. highways,” Rubenstein said. “It wasn’t intentional by any means, but when it kind of came together, it really made sense and got us excited.”

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76 fuel pumps, 41 bathroom stalls and a beef jerky bar: Welcome to Wally’s – News – Journal Star

PONTIAC — The drive between Peoria and Chicago can be long, dull and devoid of convenient, clean places to use the restroom.

A new travel center in Pontiac purports to provide a solution to that last potential problem. Among other things.

Wally’s opened its first location earlier this month, at Interstate 55 and Illinois Route 116. It bills itself as “Home of the Great American Road Trip,” and a family-friendly one at that.

That friendliness extends to cleanliness, in the form of more than 40 bathroom outlets Wally’s President/CEO Michael Rubenstein assures will be hygienic.

“What’s the No. 1 thing that usually decides where to go on a road trip? Who has the cleanest bathrooms,” Rubenstein said.

Wally’s women’s restroom has 20 stalls, with floor-to-ceiling walls and doors. The men’s room has 10 similar stalls and 11 urinals.

“Just the size and openness of the bathrooms is really situated to the family traveler and to anyone looking to stop and have a good bathroom experience,” Rubenstein said.

The rest of the Wally’s experience includes 30,000 square feet of dining and shopping, as well as 76 fuel pumps outside.

Food options include bars for coffee, popcorn and beef jerky, as well as a carving station. None is part of a national franchise — all the food outlets are Wally’s-specific.

An 8,000-square-foot retail space offers proprietary shirts, hats, mugs, outdoors supplies and the usual items one might find at a truck stop.

But Wally’s isn’t a truck stop. That doesn’t mean truckers aren’t welcome, but Wally’s isn’t set up to accommodate tractor-trailers.

The differentiation from truck stops is by design, according to Rubenstein.

“They have showers on site and a separate truck entrance,” he said. “The maneuverability around a truck stop can be a little daunting for the family in the minivan, going down the road. That’s who we’re targeting.”

Originally from southwest of St. Louis, Rubenstein and Wally’s Chairman Chad Wallis have driven I-55 numerous times between their home area and Chicago. They noticed a family-oriented travel center didn’t appear to be along the route.

Pontiac checked a lot of boxes regarding an initial Wally’s location, Rubenstein said.

It isn’t too close to Chicago or St. Louis. Local officials were welcoming. And it’s along Old U.S. Route 66, which passes through Rubenstein and Wallis’ hometowns.

“The mother road of U.S. highways,” Rubenstein said. “It wasn’t intentional by any means, but when it kind of came together, it really made sense and got us excited.”

The investment in the Pontiac Wally’s is north of $20 million, according to Rubenstein. The current company headquarters is in Houston. That area is home to Buc-ee’s, a Texas-centric travel-center chain that offers similarly spotless restrooms.

Rubenstein acknowledged the Buc-ee’s-Wally’s comparison but suggested his concept has more of a Midwestern flavor. A second location is planned, as are others in major Midwest travel corridors.

The coronavirus pandemic helped delay Wally’s debut, first set for early July. But an apparent, COVID-inspired public preference for highway trips instead of

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Contractor arrested after ‘suspicious’ mirrors found in middle school girl’s bathroom stalls

Police in New Jersey have arrested a contractor after mirrors were installed on the interior doors of stalls in a girl’s bathroom at a middle school, leaving staff “suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent” above.

Gregory Mahley, 51, of West Deptford, is facing one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (manufacturing of child pornography), one count of third-degree Invasion of privacy, and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child pornography), according to Gloucester Township Police.

Investigators say they were contacted by officials at Glen Landing Middle School on Tuesday after staff there discovered the mirrors.

Gregory Mahley is facing multiple charges. (Gloucester Township Police)

Gregory Mahley is facing multiple charges. (Gloucester Township Police)

US MARSHALS CAPTURE OKLAHOMA FUGITIVE ACCUSED OF MOLESTING 6-MONTH-OLD  

“Staff became suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent located overtop of the bathroom stalls,” the department said in a statement, without elaborating.

Police then arrested Mahley, an 8-year employee at Multi-Temp Mechanical Inc., in Westville. The Gloucester Township Board of Education had contracted his company to perform heating, ventilation and air conditioning services at the school, investigators added.

“Gloucester Township Public School District remains committed to providing a healthy and safe learning environment to its’ students and staff at all times,” John Bilodeau, its superintendent, said in a letter to the community following Mahley’s arrest.

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Bilodeau also said he was “very disturbed” to learn of the criminal charges filed against Mahley.

The school had started bringing students back this week.

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Bamboo briyani stall’s kitchen shut down

GEORGE TOWN: A kitchen in Batu Uban used by a popular bamboo briyani stall here has been ordered to close for two weeks after failing to comply with basic hygiene and health standards.

It was shut under Section 11 of the Food Act after Penang Health Department and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) inspectors found cockroaches in the rice cookers, mould on its bamboo cups and cooked food in uncovered containers placed next to open windows.

The team also saw other unhygienic conditions in the kitchen, including a rusty refrigerator used to store food, rotting vegetables believed to have been used for cooking, food waste and foul smells at the cooking area.

The kitchen was used to cook the briyani served at a roadside stall in Taman Pantai Jerejak, located some 2km away.

The business owner told the raiding officers that the kitchen was used to prepare food for catering services and close family members.

But when health officer Mohd Wazir Khalid asked where the stall’s food was cooked, the man admitted it was done in the same kitchen.

Mohd Wazir said that on checking, they found that the kitchen had been built on state land.

He said action would be taken against the kitchen owner for encroaching into the government land under the National Land Code.

The kitchen was slapped with a RM1,000 compound for failing to upkeep cleanliness, he said.

In the five-hour operation dubbed Ops Sapu, some 39 officers from MBPP and the health department were involved.

“A total of five premises were ordered shut and seven compounds worth RM13,500 were issued for various offences related to basic hygiene and health standards by the department,” he said.

He said MBPP also issued nine compounds amounting to RM1,780 for various offences during the operation.

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