Montana Mining Firm Offers $18.5M to Settle Asbestos Claims

The owner of a former vermiculite mine in northwestern Montana has offered $18.5 million to settle the last of the state's claims for environmental damages, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Tuesday. The proposed settlement was filed in W.R. Grace & Co.'s bankruptcy case in Delaware for the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site in Lincoln County. The mine polluted the area until it was shuttered in 1990, causing widespread health problems and at least 400 deaths. More than 2,600 homes, businesses and other properties were cleaned up at a cost of more than $600 million under the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund program. W.R. Grace has agreed to a $18.5 million settlement with the state of Montana to restore, replace or rehabilitate damaged natural resources, provide financial assurances for the operation and maintenance of an impoundment dam, and settle most claims made by the state Department of Environmental Quality. The settlement requires public review and court approval.

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