Montana Public Radio

Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program

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.

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.

Libby Superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

People living in Libby and Troy have until the end of March to contact the Environmental Protection Agency to have their houses checked for asbestos contamination for free. The EPA issued a "last call" notice Monday.

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.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today it is giving final approval to the Libby Superfund asbestos cleanup program. Work to clean up the town started about 15 years ago.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

On Thursday the EPA wrapped up three meetings in Libby and Troy to tell people about the agency's new asbestos risk assessment. In a determination that people have been waiting years to hear, it says that, in general, it's safe to live in Libby now.
 

But it also says that, for people who live in houses that haven't been through an extensive EPA cleanup, the risk of getting asbestos-related disease is significantly higher.