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Supreme Court Rejects W.R. Grace Asbestos Clean-Up Appeal 
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Post Supreme Court Rejects W.R. Grace Asbestos Clean-Up Appeal
A portion of this book dealt with big business trying to weasle out of cleanups. I saw this article and it made me remeber that section.

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Supreme Court Rejects W.R. Grace Asbestos Clean-Up Appeal
By Mark Sherman
October 12, 2006

W.R. Grace & Co. lost its bid to the Supreme Court Tuesday to get out from under a $54 million bill to clean up asbestos in the Montana mining town of Libby.

Justices rejected without comment Columbia, Md.-based Grace's appeal of lower court rulings that said the company was responsible for the entire cost of removing asbestos-contaminated soil in Libby.

The case pits Grace, which operated a vermiculite mine in Libby for 27 years, against the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the federal Superfund program for the nation's worst hazardous waste sites.

Grace argued in court papers that EPA had no authority to hand the company the entire bill, as well as responsibility for future costs, for the cleanup. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a federal district judge sided with EPA, which sued Grace in 2001 to recover cleanup costs.

"The situation confronting the EPA in Libby is truly extraordinary,'' the appeals court wrote in its opinion in December. "We cannot escape the fact that people are sick and dying as a result of this continuing exposure.''

Grace said others appeals courts have ruled that companies can't be forced to pay the entire cost of cleaning a polluted site without being allowed to challenge whether the cleanup was necessary to contain or remove contamination.

Solicitor General Paul Clement, the Bush administration's Supreme Court lawyer, urged justices not to take the case. EPA was within its bounds to seek to have Grace pay for the cleanup, Clement said.

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson estimated last year that it would take another five to six years to finish cleaning contaminated sites in Libby, in Montana's northwest corner.

The case is W.R. Grace & Co., et al, v. U.S., 05-1363.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Find this article at:

www.insurancejournal.com/.../73236.htm

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Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:06 pm
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Post Re: Supreme Court Rejects W.R. Grace Asbestos Clean-Up Appea
In 1999, my husband and I were contracted to take soil samples in northeast Oklahoma. This was a superfund site to clean up the lead in the soil and get rid of "chat" piles. At one time this area held the foremost lead mines in the U.S. The companies essentially shut down in the early part of the twentieth century however they left quite a mess. This area is one of the most economically depressed areas I have ever seen, but we were taking samples so that the yards of homes could be resoiled. The project could remove as much as 18 inches of top soil and replace it. The only thing is the expense of this was anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per yard. The work to replace the soil on property that was many times worth far less than the average house in the U.S. Nobody likes to put dollar amounts on the worth of people being safe from excessive lead content in their blood, but when reading Jared Diamond's book I can certainly understand the debate. The "chat" hills were to be removed within 2 to 3 years from this area. I would like to go back and see what it looks like now, since the Super Fund monies have been essentially "nixed" since the beginning of this century.

Lorie




Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:35 am
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