Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is this guy doing?

If you think this guy is putting up markers to honor the war dead in Iraq or Afghanistan you'd be wrong. He's putting up markers to honor the people that R.W. Grace Corp. killed by exposing them to asbestos. In the small town of Libby, Montana population 2000 some 225 people have died from asbestos exposures. As asbestos can take up to 30 years to kill you I'm sure we'll see more deaths in the future. Libby Montana

But a little background as to why I really hate George W. Bush and the rest of his thugs the republican party. When the news of Libby broke several years ago the EPA was all set to move this little town to a high place on the superfund list. Everything was set and clean up of the town had started. Then George W. stepped in and signed an executive order stating that there was no danger to the population of Libby. Six top EPA officials upon reading this executive order threatened to resign. Bush backed down and overturned the order and the legal case against R.W. Grace continued as did the clean up. The closing arguments of one of the trials is set for today as the case goes to the jury. This is one of those cases where all the money in the world won't make much difference when you know the odds of your survival are very slim. For executives to be so stupid and greedy as to put not only an entire towns life at risk but their own as well is beyond imagination. The asbestos dust was everywhere in that town. It was used as loose attic insulation. The company would offer mine tailings for free rather than pay to have it removed.
I recall seeing the film of one executive testifying about what they did as if it was no big deal. I was later told he died about a year later from the very asbestos from which he made his money. A Bush supporter I'm sure.
Every year on Memorial day the town holds a memorial for the people who lost their lives to R.W. Grace


Tom Harper said...

I'm glad this is finally coming to trial. That company needs to get nailed to the wall. I did several posts on this, about four years ago when it was in the news.

BBC said...

I have been to Libby a number of times, nice little town. I've hauled a couple of loads of lumber out of there also.

Didn't know about the asbestos problem at the time though.

I spent much of my youth in the Pinehurst, Kellogg Idaho area. The two rivers there run gray because of all the lead and shit, and there was no life in them.

But back in those days no one knew better, they was just trying to make a living.

S.W. anderson said...

I, too, have been to Libby a few times. I've read about the Grace atrocity over the years. It was insidious and very deliberate. Company owners and executives knew. They circulated memos on how to talk down the idea there was any danger. They refused such simple measures as providing workers masks (wouldn't look good), showers and a clean changing room — before they took asbestos home on their contaminated clothes to their families and pets.

It was a Holocaust in slow motion and thoroughly criminal. And the capper is that they stalled it along for so long, as you note, many of the people who should've collected reparations have long since died. Even the families of some are gone.

Demeur said...

S.W. They actually gave them masks but after about 10 minutes with dust levels so high you couldn't breath through the thing. So most workers didn't bother wearing them.