A Montana asbestos disposal and abatement company recently filed a lawsuit against the state's Department of Environmental Quality over allegations that the department has failed to enforce state laws on proper asbestos handling and disposal in landfills. The lawsuit claims that Montana's failure to adhere to state law on proper asbestos disposal in open air landfills ultimately puts workers, waste transporters, and the general public at risk to exposure of deadly, cancer-causing materials.
The lawsuit, filed in District Court in Butte-Silver Bow County, alleges “failure to manage asbestos waste … both at the level of inspection and at the entry to appropriate landfills, asbestos waste is regularly being dumped in open air in our landfills, endangering landfill workers, transporters, and anyone who breathes air in the area of these dumps.” The plaintiffs claim that despite having regulations more strict than federal asbestos laws, Montana is allowing unlicensed companies to do business, putting the public at risk.
Like many states, Montana requires companies engaged in asbestos abatement, removal, and disposal to be licensed and certified to perform the procedures since airborne asbestos can pose a significant health risk for those in proximity. However, in its response the state asserted that it was not legally required to more aggressively enforce the law and the burden instead rests on the property owners and contractors to comply with applicable ordinances.
Plaintiffs Demand State Regulators do More to Protect Residents
The plaintiffs contend that the state needs to do more to police the property owners trying to save time and money on waste disposal fees by turning to companies that do not hold a license or are trained to properly demolish structures with asbestos. Furthermore, the plaintiff hopes the DEQ will do more to train landfill workers on proper asbestos handling as well as change procedures at these dumping sites.
Montana is no stranger to widespread injuries caused by exposure to toxic asbestos. One asbestos contamination site well known to state residents is the vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana. Thousands of residents living near the mine have died because of asbestos-related diseases, particularly mesothelioma, which is a rare and deadly form of lung cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure.
Thousands of claims against the mine's owner, WR Grace, accuse the company of knowingly poisoning the miners and townspeople by failing to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks of asbestos exposure. About half of the victims filing claims were workers or family members but the other half are believed to have no connection to the mine whatsoever, except that they lived in proximity to the site.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.