Another 9/11 Casualty: The E.P.A.

The Missoula (Montana) Independent newspaper has published a fascinating article on the connections between the environmental casualties in both the mining community of Libby, Montana and the WTC in NYC. Not only did some of the asbestos that rained out over lower Manhattan on 9/11 come from the vermiculite mine in Libby, the two communities are both embroiled in battles with the E.P.A. over how to respond to asbestos poisoning.

Libby, Montana’s main employer, the giant W.R. Grace Co., is arguing that the E.P.A. should impose less stringent regulations on the clean up of Libby, based on the E.P.A.’s politically-motivated decision to declare the air safe around Ground Zero in the aftermath of the collapse of the WTC buildings.

Officials in NY are arguing that the much more stringent regulations that were being imposed on Libby, Montana by the E.P.A. prior to 9/11/01 should govern the clean up in N.Y.C.

Due to the Bush administration’s political manuevering after the 9/11 tragedy, the E.P.A. now has two incompatible positions on asbestos poisoning: “The discrepancy also reveals an EPA of two minds about asbestos cleanup, and the mind that prevails—for better or for worse—could set regulatory precedent for a whole host of toxic baddies.”

(9/11 Environmental Action>>SoHoJournal>>Gotham Gazette)

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