Sunday, January 29, 2023

LATAG busy addressing Libby asbestos cleanup issues

| March 30, 2007 12:00 AM

To the Editor:

Great news arrived from the Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 in February regarding their renewed support and pursuit of needed scientific studies to develop a risk assessment for the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site.

This comprehensive research desired by both the EPA and the Libby Area Technical Assistance Group will provide us added reassurance that current asbestos removal activities are adequately removing exposure risk. The last thing any of us want after all of this time is to retrace our steps and reclean Libby.

Over the last few years LATAG has been busy addressing issues related to the EPA cleanup in Libby. They have hired a technical advisor, Gerry Henningsen, DVM, Ph.D., a toxicologist responsible for providing professional toxicology and risk assessment support.

He also assists LATAG with scientific reviews, and because he was formerly a toxicologist for the EPA in Denver, is able to offer insight on regulatory processes.

His scope of work includes all Superfund document reviews and related support tasks such as preparation of reports, site travel, and public and scientific presentations. Jerry has been instrumental in helping our group and the community interpret and understand technical information and remediate risks related to our site.

LATAG has also assisted in the development of an environmental resource specialist position. EPA is currently conducting a pilot program to assess the needs in Libby and Troy. This person is available to advise community members who encounter vermiculite on their property and can help you understand how best to handle the material when doing remodeling. Call (406) 291-5335 during regular business hours or for emergencies.

Congress made public involvement in decision-making an important part of the Superfund process when the TAG program was established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980.

LATAG meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Lincoln County Campus of Flathead Valley Community College. Many of the meetings focus on interesting presentations by the EPA or other experts.

We are currently seeking new members from Libby and Troy to serve on our board of directors. LATAG is a non-profit organization established as a community resource to ensure that the people whose lives are affected by hazardous wastes have a say in the actions used to clean their properties.

For more information contact the LATAG secretary at 293-5535, write us at P.O. Box 53, Libby, MT 59923 or check out our new Web site at

Helen Andries

LATAG vice chair