Political officials in Montana are taking steps to ensure that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conduct a proper cleanup in the town of Libby, which has been contaminated by asbestos for years now.
According to the Billings Gazette, a delegation led by U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Rep. Denny Rehberg have come forward looking for assurances from the EPA that they would not rush a cleanup strategy for the town that would help improve the town’s air quality. More than 400 deaths in Libby that were attributed to asbestos exposure caused by a formerly active W.R. Grace vermiculite mine have put a national spotlight on the town and its contaminated air, water, and land.
While the EPA settled on a cleanup plan for two of the town’s eight contaminated areas in May, some have been angered by a lack of progress being seen in the process and become worried that the EPA may not complete the job as desired.
“It’s taken longer than was anticipated,” Rehberg said, according to the Gazette. “Some of that is because it was a bigger problem than we expected. Some of it has been bureaucratic and we’re working our way through that.”
The Gazette also found that a report released in June by the Government Accountability Office listed Libby’s health risks as unacceptable and said that those in the town could be faced with unsafe living conditions until 2015 at the earliest.
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