Community Engagement in Libby
Community involvement plays an important role in the Superfund process. EPA uses a number of different tools and resources to promote effective, on-going, meaningful engagement in Lincoln County. The goals of the Superfund community involvement program are to:
- Keep communities affected by sites informed throughout the cleanup process.
- Provide opportunities for communities to comment and offer their input about site cleanup plans.
- Facilitate the resolution of community issues tied to a site.
EPA's outreach in Libby Montana is extensive. EPA participates in community meetings to keep citizens abreast of cleanup activities and to provide a two-way dialogue about any issues or concerns the community may have. The following are some of the regularly scheduled monthly meetings EPA participates in:
- Lincoln County Commissioners
- City-County Health Board
- Healthy Communities Initiative
- Libby Area Technical Assistance Group
- Operations and Maintenance Workgroup
- Chamber of Commerce
- Libby Community Advisory Group
- Lincoln County School Board
Click here to view a calendar of upcoming meetings (opens in new window)
In addition to the monthly meetings, EPA also conducts public meetings and availability sessions, publishes display ads and columns in the local newspapers, and develops and distributes fact sheets and sets up public service announcements when there’s new information to share or events taking place.
EPA has on a number of occasions conducted asbestos abatement training classes for local contractors; educational workshops on topics such as lender liability, “comfort letters,” disclosure to buyers and renters, general cleanup issues, and upcoming events; and held redevelopment workshops that provided networking opportunities and facilitated discussions on economic and redevelopment opportunities for the community.
Most importantly, EPA maintains a centrally located storefront Information Center in Libby that is staffed by an office manager and full-time EPA remedial project manager (RPM). The Information Center provides easy access for the community to information about cleanup activities and provides one-on-one contact for any concerns they may have. EPA houses a local information repository at the Information Center as well as at the EPA regional headquarters in Denver.
Community Engagement Plan (CEP)
EPA conducts thorough community interviews and uses the information obtained in these interviews to develop the plan and to guide community involvement activities until the plan is complete. The community engagement plan is used by EPA in conducting community involvement activities as part of the Superfund process. The CEP is available in the Community Involvement Documents area.
Community Advisory Group (CAG)
EPA has provided support for the monthly CAG meeting since its inception in 2000. This support has included arranging for and paying for the meeting space and a meeting facilitator. Administrative support also includes advertising the meetings, copying material for distribution, creating posters, etc. Various site team members usually attend the CAG meetings every month. For information on CAG meetings please see visit the Community Advisory Group minutes.
Technical Assistance Group (TAG)
Since 2003, EPA has continued to award a Technical Assistance Grant so the Libby Area TAG can fund an independent technical advisor to review EPA site documents and maintain an independent website. In 2004 EPA’s contractor developed a very intense and audience-specific technical workshop in Denver aimed at helping TAG members understand the science behind analytical methods and ongoing risk management decisions at the Libby site. This included planning content, presentation materials, travel arrangements, etc. EPA also prepares and funds advertisement of the monthly TAG meetings, which EPA Libby project team members usually attend. For more information about the Libby TAG, please visit www.latag.org.
Libby Legacy Project
During the fall of 2012, the Libby Legacy Project, with the support of the EPA, presented a series of 90-minute sessions to educate teachers, students and the community at large about the history and the legacy of mining asbestos-contaminated vermiculite. Videos from these sessions are now available on the Libby Legacy Project channel on YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/libbylegacyproject).
In addition to this series, the Libby Legacy Project developed a timeline of events (PDF, 1 pg, 9.2MB) associated with vermiculite mining in Libby.
EPA encourages community involvement. It is an important element in risk assessments and cleanups. There are many ways that you, as a community member, can be involved in decisions affecting your family and your community.
For more information contact:
Karen Edson (email@example.com)
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
800-227-8917, ext. 312-6136 (toll free)