Montana Public Radio

Lincoln County May Have Misspent EPA Grant Money

Aug 22, 2016

Lincoln County may need to reimburse the Environmental Protection Agency for misspent grant money. The county gets a grant from the EPA to help reduce exposure to asbestos at Libby’s Superfund Site.

Earlier this year, county commissioners realized some of the grant money was paying for legal services, something an independent auditor hired by the county says is not supposed to happen.

In May the commissioners contacted the EPA to sort out whether federal grant money can cover legal fees.

Last week, the EPA responded, asking for detailed reports about how the grant funds are being used.

Lincoln County Commissioner Mark Peck and Asbestos Resource Program manager Nick Raines will go to the EPA regional office in Denver later this month.

The county has already covered the costs of the attorney fees and is now waiting to hear from the EPA the exact dollar amount to be reimbursed to the agency. Reimbursement would come from a special account held in reserve for the Asbestos Resource Program. Commissioner Peck says there’s a chance the county may get to keep the funds in question.