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Thanks

| October 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Jim Christiansen is a long way from finished with Libby.

But he is leaving some time next year.

Among the many things explained and announced by the EPA Tuesday night during the "meeting of meetings," Christiansen told the community he was not only leaving the Libby project but leaving the EPA as well. For family reasons. The quiet spoken onsite coordinator for the Libby Superfund is heading for Florida. He and his wife and three kids presently live in Colorado.

Sources tell me that Christiansen, who had a great reputation within the federal agency before he came to Libby, may not be seen so highly by the bureaucratic levels of government today.

Christiansen pushed too much and fought too hard for the community of Libby and to ensure the Superfund cleanup was done properly.

Personally, I don't doubt that "family reasons" are at the top of Christiansen's list of concerns. But I have to believe his involvement here in Libby didn't help his career at certain levels of the federal government. Also, I'm sure he is thought of highly by those working immediately with him, above him and below him.

He doesn't have the Kokapelli tattoos on his forearms that his predecessor sported, or the gold earring, nor did he display painful grimaces when being interrogated by the public. He was sporting a close-cropped head Tuesday night reminiscent of Paul Peronard but as Christiansen explained it he can still grow hair atop his dome.

Christiansen didn't seem to have the sex appeal with the outside media that Peronard commanded. But that didn't make him ineffective. He has shepherded the Libby Superfund cleanup through an extremely difficult time and we are the better for it.

And he's not done. Christiansen continues to work on the record of decision and has assured the community he would do everything he could to make the transition to the next onsite coordinator as seamless as possible.

We couldn't have done better than having Christiansen steering the cleanup for the past three or four years. Things haven't been perfect but he has worked for the best interests of the community at a cost to him.

Thanks Jim. — Roger Morris