Federal Funds Headed to Libby Asbestos Disaster

They’re still trying to clean up the worst environmental disaster in the United States…and it will continue to take lots of money to do so.

Thankfully, an addition $1.6 million in federal funds is being allocated to the Libby (Montana) Superfund Site in hopes that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality can continue their work towards a total clean-up in the small northwestern Montana town that was once a bucolic area for hunters, fishermen, and others who enjoy the great outdoors.
Federal Funds Headed to Libby Asbestos DisasterLibby, Montana was essentially poisoned by the asbestos-tainted vermiculite mines of H.R. Grace and Company, a maker of insulation and other products.

Scores of Libby residents worked at the mines and have been sickened due to asbestos exposure. Other locals have developed diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis due to exposure to the vermiculite as well, which was often used as topsoil in gardens and at playgrounds, and for other purposes throughout the town.

Exposure was commonplace in Libby…and the town has paid dearly.

That’s why a thorough clean-up – though decades too late for many – is so important.

Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) and U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT announced on Wednesday that that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality was receiving the grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the news was met with much happiness as many had feared that funds from the EPA might cease due to the current White House administration.

“The [clean-up] work continues to provide the people of Libby with a clean, healthy place to live, work, and raise a family,” Gianforte said.

“This grant from the EPA will help the community in this ongoing effort.”

“The community of Libby deserves a clean environment and this grant will help achieve that,” Daines added in a statement to the press. “I applaud EPA for prioritizing the health of the people of Libby.”

Both believe that the grant promotes cooperation between state agencies and the federal EPA as they continue in their efforts to restore

Libby to what it was before this asbestos-related travesty.

Environmental activists cite only one other environmental disaster that even comes close to the Libby fiasco. That was the Love Canal incident, where a 70-acre toxic waste landfill compromised the lives of hundreds in an area near Niagara Falls, NY.

Many in that region developed leukemia and the neighborhood was eventually demolished in its entirety.

However, statistics show that it’s likely that hundreds more will be affected by the W.R. Grace mines. Many of those individuals are already receiving some compensation from the company via an asbestos trust fund, which will hopefully assist with medical bills and other expenses associated with a diagnosis of mesothelioma or other cancer.

Some are still waiting to receive their share.