04.19.18

Daines Pushes EPA on Behalf of Lincoln County

U.S. SENATE U.S. Senator Steve Daines today sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging they take into account Lincoln County’s concerns regarding cleanup of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site.

I heard directly from Lincoln County leaders regarding their concerns that property owners and local government could be held liable for future clean-up costs of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site,” said Daines. “I’ve asked the EPA to work with local officials and community leaders before making any consequential decisions regarding a long-term maintenance plan for the site.”

To download the letter, click here

Read the letter below:

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

I write in light of concerns I have heard from local residents and community leaders in Lincoln County, Montana regarding residential cleanup at the Libby Asbestos Superfund site. Montanans are anxious to ensure that local government entities or homeowners themselves are not held liable for cleanup costs associated with any subsequent asbestos exposure under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) forthcoming plan for operation and maintenance (O&M).

More specifically, my constituents have a strong desire to have their input taken into account in the development of EPA’s O&M plan for the site, which includes roughly 2,500 properties in Libby and Troy that have undergone asbestos remediation. While EPA and W.R. Grace, the potentially responsible party, have covered the cost and implementation of mitigation work to date, risk of exposure remains. If a building is demolished or renovated, for example, those in the surrounding area may be exposed to asbestos. The communities of Libby and Troy, as well as Lincoln County, operate on tight budgets and covering the cost of future residential exposure would prove to be a significant hardship. Given the robust funds that already exist for purposes of cleanup, I trust that you can reach common ground on a plan for resolution of such scenarios should they arise.

I would also like to reiterate my appreciation for EPA including this site among your Superfund redevelopment focus list. This is the kind of targeted attention that will enable us to return sites like this one to reuse for the economic benefit of the local community.

Montanans deserve to live in a clean environment and should not be forced to bear the brunt of shortcomings in the Superfund cleanup process. I urge you to work with Lincoln County’s local residents and elected officials to develop a mutually agreeable O&M plan.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Background:

  • On April 14, 2018, Daines met with Lincoln County leaders to hear their concerns on the cleanup of the Libby Asbestos Superfund site.
  • On January 17, 2018, the EPA met Daines’ request to include the Libby Asbestos and Libby Groundwater Superfund sites in Libby in its list of sites that Administrator Pruitt is targeting for immediate and intense attention.
  • On December 8, 2017, the EPA met Daines’ request to include both Montana’s Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area and Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund sites in its list of sites that Administrator Pruitt targeted for immediate and intense attention.
  • On December 4, 2017, Daines sent a letter to Administrator Pruitt urging him to ensure Montana is represented in the Administrator’s new list of Superfund sites to receive the Administrator’s utmost attention.
  • On July 25, 2017, the EPA met Daines’ requests in its Superfund Task Force report, incorporating his recommendations.
  • On June 27, 2017, Daines sent a letter to Administrator Pruitt that included recommendations for improvements to the Superfund program.
  • On February 17, 2017, after Administrator Pruitt’s confirmation, Daines sent him a letter, underscoring the EPA’s responsibility in the environmental cleanup for National Priority List Superfund sites and invited Pruitt to tour a Montana Superfund site and assess the challenges and needs associated with cleanup.

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