News & Features

Public Comment on EPA’s Plan For Libby Ends This Week

EPA released assessment that outlined possible clean up plans and institutional controls for Libby and the surrounding area earlier this year

The public has until Aug. 7 to submit comments about the Environmental Protection Agency’s final plan for the Libby asbestos contamination cleanup.

Earlier this year, the EPA released a human health assessment that outlined possible clean up plans and institutional controls for Libby and the surrounding area. Libby has been the epicenter of one of the largest Superfund sites in American history following an asbestos contamination that has sickened thousands and killed hundreds in the years since the W.R. Grace & Co vermiculite mine closed north of town.

Since the early 2000s, more than $500 million has been spent to clean up more than 2,000 private homes and properties in the area. Because of those efforts, air asbestos concentrations are now 100,000 times lower than when the mine was open.

Once the final public comments are in, the EPA will work on the final clean up plan to be released later this year. The EPA’s Libby Team Leader, Rebecca Thomas, said that it is impossible to remove all of the asbestos from Lincoln County and that some of the product would be left in place.

Thomas said the final plan for Libby should be released by December. However, the plan will not include the original W.R. Grace mine site.

“Even though the public comment ends on Aug. 7, the conversation with the community will continue long after that,” she said.

To see the EPA’s plan and for more information visit www2.epa.gov/region8/libby-asbestos