W.R. Grace to pay $18.5 million to state under agreement
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has extended the public comment period on a proposed settlement agreement related to the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site in Lincoln County.
The proposed settlement, filed Jan. 10, 2023, would require W.R. Grace & Co. to pay $18.5 million to resolve Montana's natural resource damage claims. The state would receive that amount plus interest over 10 years, with the first $5 million due within six months of entry of the settlement agreement, according to the Montana DEQ. The money from the W.R. Grace settlement in Libby would be used to restore natural resources in the Lincoln County.
Under the settlement, W.R. Grace would also provide the state of Montana with financial assurance for the operation and maintenance of the Kootenai Development Impoundment Dam for the next 100 years. This settlement would not affect Grace’s obligations under the Montana Dam Safety Act or the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s regulatory powers.
The Libby Asbestos Superfund Site was added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities list in 2002 due to asbestos contamination in and around Libby, Montana, that resulted from the vermiculite mine and mill that Grace operated. The proposed settlement would resolve Grace’s liabilities to DEQ regarding hazardous or harmful substances, with certain limited exceptions, but would not affect Grace’s requirements to continue to perform superfund work, subject to EPA oversight with DEQ consultation.
The State has reserved the right to withdraw or withhold its consent to the settlement agreement if comments received disclose facts or considerations that indicate the settlement agreement is inappropriate, improper or inadequate. The Montana DEQ will have a public meeting at the Libby City Hall March 6, 2023. In addition, the public comment period has been extended, through March 15, 2023.
Comments can be submitted electronically or by mail. To view the settlement agreement, learn more about how to submit comments or to find details on the upcoming public meeting, visit: https://dojmt.gov/lands/notices-of-public-comment.