EPA Says Libby Industrial Site Ready for Redevelopment

Libby added to EPA’s inaugural redevelopment focus list

By Justin Franz
The Kootenai Business Park in Libby. Beacon File Photo

The former Stimson Lumber Mill in Libby is a prime area for redevelopment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which included it and nearly 30 other Superfund sites across the country on its inaugural redevelopment focus list.

EPA officials said the list highlights Superfund sites that have been cleaned to a sufficient level and are ready to be developed. The former Stimson Lumber Mill site, designated as Operable Unit 5 and part of the Kootenai Business Park, along with the Libby groundwater Superfund site, were included in the redevelopment list announced on Jan. 17.

“EPA continues to work proactively to support reuse and redevelopment opportunities in Libby,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “The completion of Superfund cleanup actions at the Kootenai Business Park has led to additional investments in infrastructure, transportation, and site improvements that will attract and support new industrial and commercial development.  We look forward to helping our partners in the Libby community as they look to revitalize once-contaminated properties and create economic assets.”

Operable Unit 5 could be removed from the Superfund site list altogether once the EPA implements additional institutional controls in coordination with Lincoln County, specifically a deed restriction that would determine what could happen on the 400-acre site.

Libby has been the site of a decade-long cleanup after it was discovered the asbestos-laden vermiculite that was once mined and processed there was killing people and sickening thousands more. Libby was designated a Superfund site in 2002.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.