Montana Public Radio

BNSF

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.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

The BNSF Railway Company Tuesday published a long-awaited habitat conservation plan intended to reduce grizzly bear mortalities in Northwest Montana.

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.

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.

The Kootenai River near Libby, MT.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Three engines and several train cars derailed Wednesday evening along the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, in the Idaho panhandle near the Montana border. One of the locomotives is leaking an undisclosed amount of diesel into the river, which is a tributary of the Columbia River.

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.

Two grizzly bear cubs killed by a train near Trego were discovered Oct. 15, 2019.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Conservation groups announced Monday that they sent a letter to BNSF Railway threatening a lawsuit over grizzly bears killed along its train tracks. So far this year, a record eight grizzlies from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) have been killed by trains.

Grizzly bears in the Lower 48 are protected as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It’s illegal to kill them, even if it’s an accident.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A proposal to ban new groundwater wells on the north end of Flathead Lake due to pollution concerns is moving forward.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation held a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to expand a ban on new groundwater wells on two additional properties near the former Somers Tie Plant.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A year-and-a-half after a mysterious, oily sheen was reported on the north end of Flathead Lake, a state agency is proposing a ban on new groundwater wells near Somers. It’s part of the cleanup plan for a local Superfund Site.

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