Montana Public Radio

asbestos

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

BNSF, one of the nation’s largest rail companies, is suing the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) in federal court for what it alleges is over-diagnoses of asbestos-related diseases. Courts have already ruled BNSF shares liability for spreading asbestos in the town of Libby, MT.

In response, CARD says the rail company is really accusing a third party that includes individuals and entities of committing fraud — not the center. CARD is requesting a trial over the issue.

A gavel and scale of justice.
iStock

The federal government has declined to intervene in a lawsuit about a Libby asbestos clinic. The lawsuit alleges that the clinic committed fraud by accessing federal funding for unnecessary health screenings and treatments.

Frank Fahland has spent most days since the pandemic began at the site of his dream house, working to finish a 15-year labor of love while keeping away from town and the people closest to him.

Like thousands of people from Libby and Lincoln County, in the far northwestern corner of Montana, the 61-year-old Fahland has lungs already scarred by years of breathing in the asbestos fibers that have contaminated the area's dust and soil. The asbestos is a legacy of a now-defunct plant in the area that made vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation and gardening.

Libby Superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

A proposed agreement charging BNSF Railway Company with the operation and maintenance of the Libby Asbestos Superfund unit running along its tracks was announced Tuesday by federal and state officials.

Libby Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The state of Montana was slated to take control of part of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on April 1. But because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, that transfer is being postponed indefinitely.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

The Montana Supreme Court ruled largely in favor of roughly 1,200 plaintiffs Wednesday that say BNSF railway should be held liable for its part in contaminating Libby with asbestos. But, the court didn’t outline exactly what activities the railway could be held liable for, and to what extent.

Libby Superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency says another Libby Asbestos Superfund Site unit is ready to be delisted. The public has 30 days to comment on delisting the former vermiculite export plant.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

The Montana Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday about whether BNSF Railway can be held liable for exposing Libby residents to asbestos that was in shipments of vermiculite it transported before the local mine shut down in 1990.

The town of Libby.
courtesy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took another step this week toward transferring oversight of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site to the state. EPA released the first of two plans outlining how the state will mitigate the spread of any remaining contamination in Libby and Troy.

McGill Hall at the University of Montana.
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana announced today that children enrolled in a campus daycare will return to a building that tested high for asbestos-contaminated surface dust earlier this year.

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