May 6th, 2014

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Regular Board Meeting

Libby Area Technical Assistance Group, Inc.

PO Box 53 • Libby, MT 59923

May 6th, 2014 • Regular Board Meeting Minutes


  1. Call To Order at 6:40PM.

In attendance were:

  • LeRoy Thom, LATAG
  • Nick Rains, ARP   
  • Eileen Carney, LATAG
  • Donna Martin, LATAG
  • Brad Black, LATAG
  • Jennifer McCully, ARP
  • Karen Horton, LATAG
  • Mike Noble, LATAG
  • Tracy McNew, LATAG
  • Steve Ackerlund, LATAG TA
  • Bill Langer, Retired USGS


    2.  Bill Langer introduced himself as an independent consultant formerly with the USGS, and he explained why Steve asked him to join our call.  He stated that EPA “significantly exaggerated my findings” for use in their background study report.

    3.  Meeting minutes were reviewed and unanimously approved from April, 2014.

    4.   EPA / DEQ/ WR Grace Report- No report.

    5.  TA Report by Steve

       1. Background Soil Letter drafted for LATAG

            a.  Bill Langer discussed his prior work about geology of the Libby valley in the context of possible naturally occurring Libby Amphibole (LA) fibers.  

  • EPA sampling depth is of concern because only the top six inches were tested.  When USGS did soil testing, they did not use the top 12 inches due to possible contamination with LA fibers by anthropogenic means.  He feels that looking for background LA fibers should be done at multiple depths and that he would expect LA fibers to be present in the top 6 inches.  
  • Bill stated that “Based on what we do know from the geologic studies, I would conclude that there is no naturally occurring LA in the true background in the Libby valley.”  He stated that he has read with the letter drafted for TAG and agrees but that he did not research the EPAs detection methodologies used.

          b.  EPA removal criteria have been updated, and per Nick Raines they now include the following:

  •  Leaving small amounts of soil that contain trace levels of LA which have been determined to be basically equivalent to levels of LA in background soils. (Trace is equal to 0-0.2% by mass)
  •  Working toward the goal of having at least 75% of a property be non-detect.  They will leave up to 25% of a property un-remediated with trace levels of LA on it. 
  • Visible vermiculite will no longer be used in making removal decisions.  Removal decisions will be made purely on analytical data.

         c. The LATAG board reviewed this letter, and with two separate motions it was unanimously approved to send the letter to Rebecca Thomas at EPA, Carolyn Rutland and Jenny Chambers at MTDEQ, and also to our state and national political leaders with a cover letter so that they are kept aware of the situation.  We will also request a formal response to our previous letter regarding clean-up processes for this summer.

         d. A possible next step suggested by Steve would be asking Bill to take more active involvement if a positive response to our letter is not received from EPA in a timely manner.

2. Regional Fire Related Risks

        a. A letter was sent to EPA today regarding regional fire related risks with multiple questions that LATAG would like addressed.

        b. Tony Ward reviewed five EPA fire-related reports and submitted a written report to LATAG with recommendations.  The LATAG board reviewed and approved this document for addition to our website, to send to EPA for informational purposes with reference to a letter previously sent regarding these concerns, and to send to ARP for possible fact sheet generation on the topic.
3. Proposed Next Meeting(s)

        a. EPA Presentation on Site-wide Exposure Assessment/Conceptual Site Model will take place during the May meeting.  Steve requested that CAG and City/County Board of Health members be invited to this meeting because it is what the final clean-up will be based on.  The board unanimously approved asking both TAs to attend next month’s meeting in person.  In addition CAG and the City/County board of health members will also be invited.   

        b. Steve discussed a proposed Conference on Regional Air & fire Related Risks to take place in the fall.  The board had tabled this discussion until Tony Ward is present.  

6) ARP Report (Nick and Jennifer)

        a) ARP is developing a grant application to submit to DNRC this month.  If funded, the project would begin in July of next year and it would address LA related public health risks in the context of recreation and timber management outside of the boundaries of the superfund site.

        b) Removal criteria changes have been made by EPA (as detailed above) which affect ARP in working with contractors, property owners, etc.  

        c) ARP is participating in discussions with MDEQ and EPA on an O&M transition plan for long term management of the superfund site as EPA transitions out.

        d) ARP helped the high school put together an educational day for 9th graders that revolved around LA and has been very successful so far.  Another group will participate this week.

        e) An EPA public meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 12th.   
7) Treasurer’s Report- Donna Martin

        a) Reimbursement #123 for March was deposited yesterday in the amount of $1,085.74.  Reimbursement #124 for April will be sent out next week.

        b) Tracy will send an email to the Grant manager at EPA to ask for the grant balance and LeRoy will ask Tina to calculate this amount based on our records.  

8) Sub-Committee Reports
        a) Communications Committee- Zach.  No report.
        b) Nomination Committee- LeRoy.  No new nominations.  
        c) O&M Attendance Rotation Committee- Donna.
               i. The April meeting was focused on how to make the clean-up and institutional controls more palatable to the community.  Also EPA voiced that they did not foresee a significant delay in the final LA toxicity value release. There is no May O&M meeting scheduled.
       d) Technical Advisor Committee- Brad. No report.

9) Old Business

       a)  Two applications have been received for the Grant Administrator position. Both were scheduled for interviews and both interviews were cancelled, one because the candidate was ill and the other because only one person could attend the interview.
            i. Interviews at 5:30 or 12:30 would be preferable to the board.  Having both on the same day would be ideal, and having the same board member attend each interview will be helpful.  We will try to schedule on Tuesday of next week.

10) New Business

      a) The board unanimously voted to participate in the EPA annual meeting by setting up a table if we are asked to do so.  

11) Open Discussion.  None.

12) Action items in bold above were reviewed and agreed on.

13) In kind hours were submitted.

14) The next LATAG meeting will be June 10th at 6:30pm in the Annex building.