Source: http://enr.construction.com, March 19, 2008
Columbia, Md.-based W.R. Grace has agreed to pay $250 million, the highest sum in the history of the Superfund program, to help pay cleanup costs of asbestos contamination in Libby, Mont. The settlement, announced on March 11 by the U.S. Justice Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency, would settle the federal government’s bankruptcy claim against the company but does not resolve an on-going federal criminal case alleging senior company officials covered up the extent of contamination. The settlement also covers future cleanup costs the firm might incur. W.R. Grace, a global supplier of specialty chemicals, owned and operated a vermiculite mine and vermiculite processing facilities in and near Libby from 1963 to 1990. Vermiculite ore was later found to be contaminated with asbestos, and vermiculite and asbestos have since been found in various locations in and around Libby. Greg Euston, a W.R. Grace spokesman, says the firm “is pleased with the agreement,” but declined to comment further because of the ongoing criminal case. The settlement must be approved by the federal bankruptcy court overseeing W.R. Grace’s reorganization.