According to an article in the Western News, Max Baucus, the senior senator from Montana, is delighted that the Senate has taken the first step towards the total ban of asbestos, a dangerous mineral that has caused horrendous devastation and heartbreak in his state.
“Asbestos has wrought havoc in Montana and across the country,” said Baucus, who is the co-sponsor of the ‘Ban Asbestos in America Act’ along with Senator Patty Murray of Washington. “Getting rid of asbestos and stopping the devastation it causes is a very personal fight for me. I’m proud to help pass the legislation that will end the use of asbestos once and for all.”
In particular, Baucus cites the case of Libby, Montana, where literally thousands have been sickened by the long-time presence of a vermiculite mine, owned by W.R. Grace and Company. Hundreds have died since the mine closed in 1990. People in Libby develop asbestos-related health problems at a rate of 40 to 60 times the national average, and they suffer from mesothelioma, a dangerous and aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, at a rate of about 100 times the national average. Libby was declared a national “superfund” site in 2002.
“I don’t want folks in other parts of the country to go through what the folks of Libby have – it’s awful and never should happen again,” Baucus said. “This legislation will help prevent asbestos tragedies from happening in the future. It’s a good, common-sense bill.”
Baucus hopes the House will take up the cause and pass the bill as well.