Tester to EPA: No More Hollow Promises to Libby

Senator Cautiously Optimistic About Agency’s New Focus on Superfund Site

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) including Libby on its new Superfund Redevelopment Focus List, which highlights current and former Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential.

I’m pleased that the EPA has identified Libby as one of its top priorities, and I’m encouraged by their focus on economic development because Libby is a community with a lot of potential for growth,” Tester said. “But I’ll be holding the EPA’s feet to the fire on this because the people of Libby have been waiting far too long for progress and they can’t afford anymore hollow promises.”

More than 200 residents of Libby have died and thousands more have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases since W.R. Grace closed its local vermiculite mine in 1990. After widespread contamination was uncovered in 2000, Libby and its surrounding communities were placed on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List in 2002.

Tester has been a vocal advocate for Libby, commissioning long-term health assessments and progress reports on this issue and pushing the EPA to intensify its cleanup efforts around Libby, Troy and other Montana Superfund sites. Tester also recently introduced a bill to ban asbestos in the U.S. and secured $2.5 million to support health screenings for families who have been exposed to asbestos in Libby.