Health Emergency Declared In Mont. Town

This undated file photo provided by the Lincoln County District Court shows the now-closed W.R. Grace vermiculite mine near Libby, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency on June 17, 2009 declared a health emergency in Libby in connection with asbestos contamination caused by the plant.
AP Photo, File
The Environmental Protection Agency for the first time has declared a public health emergency in a contaminated community, targeting a Montana town for immediate federal attention.

The declaration by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson involving Libby, Mont., will not result in an evacuation, but will require an extensive cleanup and better health protections for residents with asbestos-related illnesses.

Jackson called Libby a "tragic public health situation" that has not received the recognition it deserves from the federal government for far too long.

Asbestos contamination from a now-closed vermiculite mine near Libby has been cited in the deaths of more than 200 people and illnesses of thousands more.