“Spotlight - Anywhere, Earth”
Missoula Independent, August 23, 2007
by Paul Peters
Reading the Indy over the last year or so, you’ve no doubt noticed a story or two about the asbestos problem in Libby. Coverage has focused on problems with the EPA’s on-going cleanup of the asbestos-contaminated town, giving just enough of the background on how it got that way - WR Grace and Company’s vermiculite mine - to provide context for the current situation.
LIBBY, MONTANA, a documentary shot by Missoula-based High Plains Films, takes you back to the beginning, when Libby was just a nice place to live, especially with a sudden influx of good jobs at the local mine.
It takes you through the tragedy that ensues when Libby residents start getting sick, to the hopeful beginnings of the EPA’s cleanup, and ends just as the cleanup begins to unravel.
The film goes deeper too, with footage of Grace’s former mine manager squirming under deposition as he’s presented with evidence that he knew of the mine’s health threat, the C.E.O. of Grace handing his 1984 report on reducing government regulations to Ronald Reagan, and business owners in Libby fighting Superfund designation because they’re worried about how it will effect local business.
When the credits roll, you’re left with the feeling that what happened in Libby serves as a warning to those who ignore the effects of our way of life on the environment, out of fear of fundamental and discomforting lifestyle alterations.