Tainted Montana Town Reaches Cleanup Milestone
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — On the site of a vermiculite plant that once spewed deadly asbestos dust across the mountain community of Libby, grass is sprouting and freshly-planted trees are taking root in a new town park.
It’s a dose of normalcy for Libby, a mining town near the Canadian border that became synonymous with lung disease and death. An estimated 400 people in the area have died from asbestos exposure.
Libby Mayor Doug Roll says the federal government’s recent transfer of the park to the town offers a symbolic break from its lethal past.
But federal regulators say some dangerous material remains beneath the surface because it’s difficult to remove all of the asbestos-containing vermiculite.
The price tag so far for Libby’s cleanup is $447 million.