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Commissioner appeals for more CAG involvement

by Kyle McCLELLAN Western News
| November 8, 2007 11:00 PM

The community task force charged with guiding the EPA's efforts in Libby has seen a sharp decline in numbers, according to a county commissioner who serves on the group.

CAG (Community Advisory Group) was formed in 2000 to represent a cross-section of the community.

But only 11 people remain in the group at a time when the EPA is asking the public for input on the future of its remediation project, according to commissioner Rita Windom.

"It appears that the EPA doesn't want the responsibility for making the final decisions," Windom said

Some of those decisions involve the direction that the cleanup will take in the future. Priorities include residences in Troy that officials have recognized as in need of immediate cleanup, residences in Libby that have been on the waiting list for six years, contaminated creeks around Libby and Troy and Cabinet View Country Club.

Windom wants community coherence before Dec. 6, when the EPA may ask the community to vote on the direction at a town meeting.

"I am very uncomfortable with letting the community vote," Windom told the city council Wednesday night, "because when you let the community vote, we have the battle lines drawn like in the past. Those battle lines have been softened. But they're not gone. I don't want to see our community divided again over these issues."

CAG today comprises a CARD Clinic member, a newspaper editor, the Libby School District superintendent, a physician and a former W.R. Grace employee, among others.

Their immediate plans are to secure financial sources available from the state legislature and ensure that the EPA's risk assessment is completed.

In other business:

The city council approved two zoning variances for businesses in residential areas.

The council approved Darlene Dow's request for her body piercing business at 110 Nevada Ave., which Dow said has been in Libby for three years.

It also approved Kenneth Carberry's request to operate a care facility at 1420 Idaho St.