Environmental Protection Agency nominee Lisa Jackson has agreed to focus on the city of Libby, Montana if she is confirmed. The Western News recently highlighted Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus’ request that Jackson visit Libby to see firsthand what accomplishments have been made and what efforts must be continued.
Senator Baucus, who is a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, has long pledged to help the residents of Libby and is hopeful about working with Jackson if she is confirmed for the EPA position. Jackson also confirmed her intentions of visiting Libby if she receives the post to review previous efforts, meet with residents, and discuss their needs and concerns.
Baucus has called on the EPA in years prior to declare Libby a public health emergency. The EPA, after meeting with The White House Office of Management and Budget, blocked this effort. The EPA did follow through with efforts to remove asbestos insulation from residents’ homes. However, adequate medical care is still not being provided to the many residents who are sick from asbestos exposure.
It was in 2001 that the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, along with the EPA, determined that many people in Libby had already died from asbestos exposure and that over 1,000 more people had early signs of asbestos-related diseases.
Senator Baucus and Libby residents are hopeful that Lisa Jackson will receive the EPA position and be able to work through the budgeting and financing restrictions to help residents get the medical support they need.