Environmental Law

Charges Dismissed Against W.R. Grace GC; EPA Declares First-Ever Public Health Emergency

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Federal prosecutors moved early this week to dismiss charges against O. Mario Favorito, the legal counsel for W.R. Grace.

Favorito was the final defendant in a the Libby, Mont., asbestos case, the Associated Press reports. His co-workers were acquitted last month.

Along with his co-defendants, Favorito was accused in criminal court of conspiring to cover up the health risks of asbestos contamination W.R. Grace’s mining operations in Libby.

Favorito’s trial, separate from the others because there were so many attorney-client privilege issues, was set to begin in September.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency declared its first-ever “public health emergency” to aid those sickened by asbestos contamination in northwest Montana, the Washington Posts reports.

According to the Post, the government will send $6 million to provide medical care for those who have become ill or will become ill from vermiculite, a mineral used in insulation that has been found to be contaminated with a toxic form of asbestos.

“For way too long, many here in Washington have turned a blind eye to the needs of the residents in Libby,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is quoted saying. “Those days are over.”

Also see:

EPA (news release): “EPA Announces Public Health Emergency in Libby, Montana; EPA to Move Aggressively on Cleanup and HHS to Assist Area Residents with Medical Care”

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