MTPR

Lincoln County

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.

White-tailed deer.
(PD)

A second deer in Libby is suspected of carrying Chronic Wasting Disease.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks announced Friday that it was notified of a sample collected from a white-tailed buck and sent to a lab to be tested.

State unemployment rates, March 2019, seasonally adjusted
Bureau of Labor Statistics

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's unemployment rate inched down to 3.7 percent in March, a tenth of a percent below the national rate.

State labor officials said in a statement Friday the data suggests tight labor markets are keeping job growth down. There was a small gain of 326 total jobs last month and no change in payroll employment.

State Agency Looks To More Logging, Improved Forest Health

Mar 8, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's forestry agency is working with federal, local and private organizations to increase logging on national forests to improve forest health and decrease the risk of disease and catastrophic fires.

State lawmakers are supporting a $2.2 million request from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to hire people to help implement the Good Neighbor Authority program.

The Libby eagle sits above downtown Libby, Montana.
Nicky Ouellet

In about a year, the Environmental Protection Agency will leave Libby, where it’s worked for the last two decades to clean up asbestos contamination, a lethal byproduct leftover from W.R. Grace’s vermiculite mine. But locals in Lincoln County say the EPA packing up doesn’t necessarily mean cleanup work is done.

The town of Libby.
courtesy

Highway 37 fire, updated 4:20 p.m. July 20, 2018

A fire near the former vermiculite mine and a section of asbestos-contaminated forest outside Libby is drawing a quick response from crews working to control it.

The Highway 37 Fire, spotted Thursday evening about 4 miles north of Libby, quickly grew to about 50 acres today.

About 300 people came to the first public meeting about the Gibralter Ridge Fire at Eureka High School last night
Nicky Ouellet

I met Jarrell Miller at the fire information meeting in Eureka Wednesday night.

He was one of the first people to respond to the Gibralter Ridge Fire east of town late Monday night, he says the forest looked a little like winter.

"You would think it was snowing but it was glowing," Miller said, "glowing embers that were flying, and then everywhere those landed- they landed all around - there was potential for thousands or millions of fires, but only a few of them would ignite."

Closure Order for areas effected by Gibralter Fire.
Inciweb

About 30 homes near Eureka were evacuated before dawn today after the fast-growing Gibraltar Ridge Fire was discovered east of town. People quickly mobilized to provide a shelter at the Church of God.

Lora Ercanbrack is with the American Red Cross relief team in Lincoln County. She arrived to the church shelter early Tuesday morning around 6 a.m. to greet weary evacuees, some of whom had already been up for several hours. 

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

Funding for a Libby asbestos program is now on hold while the federal government investigates allegations of misspent grant money.

Libby’s Asbestos Resource Program helps residents manage asbestos if they plan to disturb soil on their property. It’s funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

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.

Pages