EPA Sues W.R. Grace for Cleanup Costs

EPA said Monday it is suing W.R. Grace for more than $10 million\r\nto cover the cost of investigation and cleanup in Libby, Mont.

EPA said Monday it is suing W.R. Grace for more than $10 million to cover the cost of investigation and cleanup in Libby, Mont.

The agency filed its lawsuit in federal district court in Missoula on Friday, just one business day before Grace announced it is filling for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The lawsuit also asks the court for a declaratory judgment for any future costs incurred by EPA in its asbestos work.

EPA handled the cleanup of the Raintree Nursery site under the Superfund program, and oversaw Grace''s cleanup of the Millwork West property.

Vermiculite was processed at both sites through the years.

In addition to W.R. Grace in Delaware and W.R. Grace Conn in Connecticut, the lawsuit names Kootenai Development Co. as a defendant.

Kootenai Development purchased the mine site and part of the processing facility at Libby after Grace closed the mine in 1990.

The property became contaminated with asbestos over a 70-year period as vermiculite, which was used in home insulation and garden fertilizer, was mined and processed in an around Libby.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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