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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1994

ENR DOJ (202) 616-2765 EPA (303) 293-1773 RON RUTHERFORD EPA (303) 294-7554 JIM EPPERS TDD (202) 514-1888

MINING COMPANY PAYS PENALTY FOR CLEAN AIR ACT VIOLATIONS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- W.R. Grace Company has agreed to pay a $510,000 penalty to settle a Clean Air Act (CAA) complaint that alleges the company improperly demolished several asbestoscontaminated buildings in its Libby Mine in Montana, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The federal government and Grace agreed to a settlement contained in a consent decree lodged in U.S. District Court in Missoula. The complaint, filed in March 1994, contended that the buildings' insulation contained cancer-causing asbestos. "The penalty, one of the largest asbestos NESHAPs (National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) settlements in the country, sends a clear message that violations of the asbestos regulations will not be tolerated. Further, the compliance program agreed to by the company reduces the likelihood of similar future health hazards," said Lois J. Schiffer, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. "This result should encourage other companies to comply with the environmental laws voluntarily to avoid serious penalties." Asbestos NESHAPs are aimed at managing emissions and reegulating the handling and disposal of asbestos-contaminated material. The CAA directs EPA to identify hazardous air pollutants and enact standards to protect communities from exposure. "Libby residents are not at current risk from the site, but we do not know the levels of asbestos fibers that escaped prior to our action," said Patricia D. Hull, Director of EPA's Regional Air, Radiation and Toxics Division in Denver. In 1992, a citizen notified EPA that suspected asbestoscontaminated buildings were being destroyed. The Montana Department of Health and Environmental Services inspected the facility, found violations of the asbestos NESHAPs, and sent Grace a warning letter. The state has the lead role of enforcing asbestos violations; however, EPA may step in if it believes the case warrants further action. "We concluded the violations in this case were serious," Hull said. "This led EPA to investigate and refer it to DOJ for civil prosecution." EPA officials say that during demolition, asbestos was released into the air which could have been inhaled by anyone downwind or at the site. However, because the asbestos releases happened before any EPA or state investigation, no accurate air analysis could be performed. The settlement resolves claims against the company of failing to:

Remove asbestos before doing work that would break up or disturb the material. ​ Properly dispose of material that contained asbestos. ​ Comply with other requirements of the NESHAPs. As part of the settlement Grace agreed to abide by all state and federal asbestos laws and regulations in future demolition/renovation projects. The company also agreed to engage in a specific compliance program at 29 of its facilities across the country. These requirements involve notifying authorities prior to action, obtaining certified surveys and inspections, and keeping accurate records. If the company or its employees fail to meet these obligations, EPA can impose additional substantial penalties. "We strongly urge others to follow CAA and asbestos NESHAPs rules to prevent similar legal actions," Hull remarked. There is a 30-day public comment period before the consent decree becomes final. ### 94-505