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LibbyMt.com > News > August 2011 > Baucus responds to EPA Libby asbestos report

Baucus responds to EPA Libby asbestos report
by Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio
August 9, 2011

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Max Baucus, said a new report released Friday by the Office of the Inspector General for the Environmental Protection Agency shows the need for improved communication between the EPA and the community regarding asbestos exposure. The report highlights recommendations to improve communication efforts regarding asbestos contamination in Libby.

Baucus and Senator Tester requested the investigation last year to help local families and businesses better understand the Superfund cleanup efforts and the risks related to potential asbestos exposure.

Baucus said, "This report highlights something folks in Libby have told me before: some of their urgent and repeated concerns are being lost in the shuffle of the EPA’s work. I’m particularly disturbed by stories of residents receiving incomplete and curt public responses to valid concerns and anxiety they’re experiencing over potential asbestos contamination in waterways and wood products used in town," said Baucus. "I’m going to keep pressing EPA so that people in the Libby community and surrounding area have all the available facts they need to raise their families, put food on the table and grow their businesses."

"Libby residents deserve to know what’s going in their community without having to ask for an investigation", said Tester. The Inspector General’s report highlights a number of steps that the EPA should take as soon as possible so that Libby residents and small business owners can grow their economy and add jobs instead of worrying about what they’re not being told. The EPA must improve communication because the people of Libby deserve no less," said Tester.

Baucus and Tester sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the agency to implement the communication plan recommended by the Inspector General to keep residents in Libby in the loop, saying they look forward to implementing the recommendations in order "to create a coherent and overarching communication plan that helps residents understand the process as well as the data you are collecting and resulting clean up strategy."

In the letter, the Senators told Jackson "We hear consistently from constituents in Libby about their concerns being lost in the shuffle of EPA’s work. Most recently, residents have received curt and at times flippant public responses to widespread anxiety about the contamination of local waterways, wildlife, and wood products used in Libby. These responses from EPA are unsettling, and we urge the agency to correct through vigorously implementing these recommendations."

"We urge you to swiftly incorporate these changes as quickly as possible and report back to the OIG and our offices about your progress in the upcoming months," the Senators told Jackson.

Story by Duane Williams, KLCB-KTNY Radio, www.todaysbestcountryonline.com e-mail:klcb@frontiernet.net.

LibbyMt.com > News > August 2011 > Baucus responds to EPA Libby asbestos report
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