Libby, Montana

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EPA Declares Public Health Emergency

For decades, W.R. Grace and Company mined asbestos-contaminated vermiculite in the town of Libby, Montana. Hundreds of miners and residents of Libby have died, and at least 1,200 more have developed cancer or lung disease from exposure.

In May 2009, executives from W.R. Grace were acquitted on charges of knowingly allowing Libby residents to be exposed to cancer-causing asbestos.

A month later, the Environmental Protection Agency declared a public health emergency in Libby. It marks the first time such a declaration has been made by the EPA. The EPA said it will funnel $6 million to provide medical care for people sickened by asbestos from the mine.

May 12, 2009: W.R. Grace Acquitted in Libby, Montana Asbestos Case
A federal jury in Montana acquitted W.R. Grace and Company and three of its former executives last Friday of knowingly exposing mine workers and residents of Libby, Montana, to asbestos poisoning and then covering up their actions. The government has called this the nation’s biggest environmental disaster. Hundreds of miners and residents of Libby have died, and at least 1,200 more have developed cancer or lung disease from exposure to the asbestos-containing ore from W.R. Grace’s vermiculite mine.

April 22, 2009: A Town Suffering for Generations: Decades of Asbestos Exposure by W.R. Grace Mine Leave Hundreds Dead, 1,200+ Sickened in Libby
We broadcast from Missoula, Montana, where an environmental crimes trial is underway in what the government has called “the nation’s biggest environmental disaster.” Hundreds of miners, their family members and townsfolk have died, and at least 1,200 have been sickened, from exposure to asbestos-containing ore from a mine in Libby, Montana, owned by W.R. Grace and Company. We speak with Gayla Benefield, one of the first residents in Libby to raise awareness about the story and gain it national attention.

April 22, 2009: Environmental Crimes Trial Underway Against W.R. Grace for Widespread Asbestos Exposure in Montana Town
Government prosecutors called their final witness on Monday in their case against W.R. Grace and Company. The firm and five former executives are charged with knowingly exposing their workers and the public to vermiculite ore contaminated with asbestos from the company’s mine in Libby, Montana. The government has called it “the nation’s biggest environmental disaster.”

December 15, 1999: The Great White Death: Hundreds Dying From Asbestos Poisoning in Libby, Montana
Today, an unbelievable story about profit and death: the story of Libby, Montana, a small town whose population is dying of asbestos poisoning.