It’s the largest chunk of cash the Superfund program has received, but it’s still not close to covering the cost of cleaning up what the EPA labeled “the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.”  Baltimore’s W.R. Grace & Co. will pay $250 million for contaminating Libby, Montana. Hundreds have either fallen sick or died from breathing in asbestos. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the definitive story for today. For more, see the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, and Missoula’s Missoulian.
 
A must-read primer on Libby, Mont., is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s investigative series, Uncivil Action. The paper broke the story in 1999 and the extensive reportage led to the EPA taking action. It’s like a small book on the subject. The interviews with Libby’s residents are a punch in the stomach. It’s chilling.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports on a new study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has discovered that more mines are cropping up in urban areas in the West due to an ancient, ossified law circa 1872. 

Is one coming to your backyard?

  • According to the EWG report, “As of January 2008, thousands of Washingtonians lived in 29 cities and towns within five miles of mining claims. The number of claims within five miles of cities and towns increased from 388 to 405. Glacier, which provides services for the Mt. Baker ski area, saw claims within five miles more than triple from 11 to 36, while Metaline Falls has more claims within five miles (266) than its 223 residents.”  Yikes.

    You can enter your zip code on the site to see how close mining claims are to your house. I live deep in urban Seattle and I’m only 32 miles from one!

    (This database is awesome, to say the least. Kudos to the folks at EWG!) 

    So, what’s up with your daily aggregator?

    Take a look at one new function on Sightline Daily. The site offers you the ability to either scan only headlines, or read both headlines and article summaries. Just hit the “expand all” and “collapse all” links on the front page and daily news page. (Those “+” and “-” signs next to the articles do the same thing.) 

    I like to “expand all” when I visit the site and “collapse” each article to the headline after I’m done. That way, I keep better track of where I’m at. I hope it’s helpful to you too.

    Let us know what you think about the site. What works and what doesn’t for you? Send a note or comment on this post.