EPA cuts off cooperative agreement with Lincoln County

Submitted by

Jennifer Harrison, EPA


EPA is placing a temporary hold on payments under a Superfund Cooperative Agreement with the City-County Board of Health for Lincoln County for the Asbestos Resource Program in Libby, Montana.    The Agency notified the County of this action today as part of an ongoing evaluation of past practices and potential inconsistencies with federal grant regulations related to administration of the grant.

“EPA appreciates that the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners has requested our assistance with specific concerns regarding administration of the grant and is working closely with us to address this matter,” said Martin Hestmark, EPA Assistant Regional Administrator.  “The Asbestos Resource Program (ARP) has been and remains a valuable resource for residents and businesses.  While we are carefully evaluating circumstances related to administration of the grant, the Program’s effectiveness and importance to the local community are not in question. Our goal as we move forward is to meet our dual responsibility to secure taxpayer dollars and to ensure that these essential services continue to be delivered to the residents of Libby and Troy.”

Work completed to date by the Asbestos Resource Program is consistent with the scope of the grant and is an important component of a comprehensive cleanup that is now in the final stages.  EPA is currently working with the county to explore options to ensure that this important work continues.

The Asbestos Resource Program (ARP) protects public health and provides property and homeowners with valuable outreach, education and technical resources to address exposure risks in the Libby and Troy communities. The role of the ARP is to support community members with management of asbestos before and after EPA response activities.  The ARP coordinates with community members planning to remodel, demolish or excavate at their property. The ARP also provides education about asbestos and has a role in wildfire preparedness and management. The program was developed under the guidance of the City County Board of Health for Lincoln County.