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Ricky Bagolie
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W.R. Grace Faces Criminal Trial Over Widespread Asbestos Contamination

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W.R. Grace and seven of its executives were indicted last year by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and violations of the Federal Clean Air Act in connection with the company’s mining operations in Libby, Montana where they allegedly poisoned hundreds of residents with Asbestos. All the defendants, who face huge fines and lengthy prison terms if convicted of the most serious charges, have pleaded not guilty.

It is an American tragedy that corporate citizens, such as Grace, can be responsibile for hundreds of preventable injuires and deaths. Over 1,400 people in the Libby area, which has a population of about 8,000, have received diagnoses of lung abnormalities related to asbestos exposure including Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and Cancers.

According to the New York Times:

The nonprofit clinic, the Center for Asbestos Related Disease, widely known as CARD, has been a sanctuary here for hundreds of sick and dying people as this former mining town’s extraordinary battle with asbestos unfolded over the last six years. The treatment records and investigations by the clinic’s doctors have been crucial, medical experts around the country say, to understanding one of the worst cases of asbestos contamination in the nation’s history.

The Environmental Protection Agency has already spent upward of $120 million on cleanup efforts, including work on hundreds of homes. Most people who have gotten sick here never worked for the company, according to prosecution documents in the criminal case.