116 minutes, 2007, DVCAM

PBS to Broadcast Libby Documentary

William Gallahue
August 27, 2007
California Gazette

Tuesday 8pm - PBS will broadcast the film “Libby, Montana” as part of their “P.O.V.” series. The film documents the effects of asbestos mining in one small Montana town.

Background - For seventy years Libby was home to a large vermiculite mine. The ore was later found to contain asbestos and eventually the mine was shutdown in 1990.

But that’s just the beginning.

A story by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer would begin to expose what the EPA would later call “the worst case of industrial poisoning” in American history.

In 2001 the EPA screened residents and found that over half of the towns 2100 residents had lung abnormalities associated with asbestos exposure. Following those results, the entire town was designated as a Superfund cleanup site in 2002.

Since then, nearly $120 million has been spent to clean up the town and lawsuits from residents and former workers have forced mine owner W.R. Grace and Co. into bankruptcy.

Further investigation of the company revealed a troubling web of misinformation and exploitation as the company continued to operate the mine as more and more information about the toxicity of asbestos became known.

Directed by: Drury Dunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis