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Libby is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln Countymarker, Montanamarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 2,626 at the 2000 census.


Libby is located at (48.388128, -115.553707), along U.S. Route 2.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.3 km²), all of it land. Located in the Kootenai National Forestmarker, between the Cabinet Mountains to the south and the Purcell Mountains to the north. The town lies in the heart of the Kootenai Valley along the Kootenai River, and downstream from the Libby Dammarker. Libby is at an elevation of 2096 feet (639 m).


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,626 people, 1,132 households, and 669 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,061.9 people per square mile (798.3/km²). There were 1,264 housing units at an average density of 992.5/sq mi (384.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.51% White, 0.15% African American, 1.26% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.53% from other races, and 1.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.22% of the population.

There were 1,132 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 22.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,276, and the median income for a family was $29,615. Males had a median income of $30,174 versus $19,675 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,090. About 10.0% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.


Libby's economy has largely been supported by the use of natural resources, such as logging and mining. 17 miles (27 km) upstream from Libby is the site of the Libby Dammarker, one of the Columbia River Treaty Dams, finished in 1975..

Zonolite and asbestos

Vermiculite, an ore found in the area in 1881, had been mined in the area since 1919. In 1919, E.N. Alley bought the Rainy Creek claims and started the Zonolite Company. Zonolite is a branded trademark product made from vermiculite. W. R. Grace and Company bought the Zonolite mine in 1963. Prior to this logging was the leading source of employment in Libby. Nine years after the mine's closure, a newspaper reporter from Seattle published a series of articles documenting extensive deaths and illness from the asbestos contaminated vermiculite at Grace's former mine. Government investigators subsequently found that the samples had high levels of fibrous tremolite asbestos, which is known to have caused scores of asbestos related ailments among former Zonolite employees and their family members.More than 274 area deaths have allegedly been caused of asbestos-related diseases, and 17% of the residents who participated in the ATSDR screening study in Libby were found to have pleural abnormalities, which may be related to exposure to asbestos.[18913]

The EPA has been removing asbestos-contaminated soils and other materials in and near Libby since May 2000, and has spent $120 million in Superfund money on cleanup.

On June 11, 2008, the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services launched an eight million dollar investigation into the effects of asbestos exposure on the people of Libby.

In 2008 a $60mn settlement was reached with an unspecified number of owners of homes and businesses throughout the United States who used insulation products made by Grace & Co. The attics were insulated with Zonolite, which contained vermiculite that was contaminated with asbestos.

Two documentary films, Libby, Montana, and Dust to Dust, and three books (An Air That Kills by Andrew Schneider and David McCumber, Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation by Andrea Peacock, and Fatal Deception by Michael Bowker) have been written regarding the Grace asbestos tragedy in Libby.

In February 2005 the Federal Government began a criminal conspiracy prosecution of Grace and of seven current and former Grace employees. The government alleges that Grace conspired to hide from employees and the town residents the asbestos dangers and that it knowingly released asbestos into the environment.On May 8, 2009, a jury of 12 Montanans found W.R. Grace & Co. and the accused employees not guilty on all counts, ending what was called the biggest environmental-crime prosecution in U.S. history.

On June 17, 2009 the EPA declared its first public health emergency. This emergency covers Libby and nearby Troy. It will provide an additional 130 million dollars in cleanup and medical assistance.


Radio stations in Libby include:


Public Schools

Libby is served by the Libby School District.
  • High School- Libby High School
  • Middle School- Libby Middle School
  • Elementary School- Asa Wood ELementary School

Private Schools

  • Libby Adventist Elementary School
  • Kootenai Valley Christian School.


Amtrak serves Libby through a local stationmarker.

Notable residents


  1. Site Background - Region 8 - Libby Asbestos - United States Environmental Protection Agency‎.
  2. "About the Film" - Libby, Montana - at PBS
  3. "A town left to die" - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - November 18, 1999-January 27, 2007.
  4. "A town left to die" - Seattle Post-Intelligencer - November 18, 1999-January 27, 2007
  5. Peacock, Andrea. "Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation." Johnson Books (2003).
  6. Zalac, Frédéric. "Deadly Dust" - CBC News - February 7, 2003 | Updated March 2005
  7. Zalac, Frédéric. "Deadly Dust 2" - CBC News - September 28, 2004.
  8. "Libby v. Grace: A Poisoned Town's Shot at Justice," by Andrea Peacock. Counterpunch, 3/2/2009.
  9. Asbestos cleanup 'emergency' declared in Montana town. CNN. 17 June 2009.
  10. [ EPA's Actions Concerning Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite in Libby, Montana, 2001-S-7, March 31, 2001 - United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ - 04-14-2003 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document)
  11. Region 8 - Libby Asbestos - United States Environmental Protection Agency‎.
  12. W.R. Grace Petition - April 27, 2006 - (Adobe Acrobat *.PDF document).
  13. Libby Updates, Region 8, USEPA
  17. Libby School District
  18. Libby High School
  19. Libby Middle School
  20. Asa Wood Elementary School
  21. Libby Adventist Elementary School
  22. Kootenai Valley Christian School

External links

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