Victims of Montana’s Cancer-Causing Asbestos Pollution Taking BNSF Railway to Court

Why does the US government allow these corporations to give everyone cancer?

Why is nothing regulated?

They raised the smoking age to 21. They tried to force you to take a deadly gene therapy treatment. They will stop you on the road to see if you’ve had a beer.

The US government goes to Africa to regulate their gay sex policies.

But corporations are allowed to poison you without consequences. There are no regulations. No one is ever punished.

New York Post:

Paul Resch remembers playing baseball as a kid on a field constructed from asbestos-tainted vermiculite, mere yards from railroad tracks where trains kicked up clouds of dust as they hauled the contaminated material from a mountaintop mine through the northwestern Montana town of Libby.

He liked to sneak into vermiculite-filled storage bins at an adjacent rail yard, to trap pigeons that he would feed, during long days spent by the tracks along the Kootenai River.

Today, Resch, 61, is battling an asbestos-related disease that has severely scarred his left lung. He’s easily winded, quickly tires and knows there is no cure for an illness that could suffocate him over time.

At some point, probably everybody got exposed to it,” he said, speaking of asbestos-tainted vermiculite. “There was piles of it along the railroad tracks. … You would get clouds of dust blowing around downtown.”

Paul Resch

Almost 25 years after federal authorities responding to news reports of deaths and illnesses descended on Libby, a town of about 3,000 people near the US-Canada border, some asbestos victims and their family members are seeking to hold publicly accountable one of the major corporate players in the tragedy: BNSF Railway.

Hundreds of people died and more than 3,000 have been sickened from asbestos exposure in the Libby area, according to researchers and health officials. Texas-based BNSF faces accusations of negligence and wrongful death for failing to control clouds of contaminated dust that used to swirl from the rail yard and settle across Libby’s neighborhoods.

The vermiculite was shipped by rail from Libby for use as insulation in homes and businesses across the US.

The first trial among what attorneys say are hundreds of lawsuits against BNSF for its alleged role polluting the Libby community is scheduled to begin Monday.

The railroad — owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — has denied responsibility in court filings and declined further comment.

The plaintiffs for the upcoming trial against BNSF, the estates of Joyce Walder and Thomas Wells, lived near the Libby rail yard and moved away decades ago. Both died in 2020 of mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer caused by asbestos that is disproportionately common in Libby.

The mine a few miles outside town once produced up to 80% of global vermiculite supplies. It closed in 1990. Nine years later, the Environmental Protection Agency arrived in Libby and a subsequent cleanup has cost an estimated $600 million, with most covered by taxpayer money. It’s ongoing, but authorities say asbestos volumes in downtown Libby’s air are 100,000 times lower than when the mine was operating.

Awareness about the dangers of asbestos grew significantly over the intervening years, and last month the EPA banned the last remaining industrial uses of asbestos in the US.

The ban did not include the type of asbestos fiber found in Libby or address so-called “legacy” asbestos that’s already in homes, schools and businesses. A long-awaited government analysis of the remaining risks is due by Dec. 1.

Asbestos doesn’t burn and resists corrosion, making it long lasting in the environment. People who inhale the needle-shaped fibers can develop health problems as many as 40 years after exposure. Health officials expect to grapple with newly diagnosed cases of asbestos disease for decades.

The EPA declared the nation’s first ever public health emergency under the Superfund cleanup program in Libby in 2009. The pollution led to civil claims from thousands of people who worked for the mine or the railroad, or who lived in the Libby area.

The government eventually banned asbestos, but it was decades after they knew it was poisonous.

They’ve known PFAS are poisonous for decades, and they still haven’t banned those. Corporations are allowed to continue to dump them in the water supply.

This communist anal government claims it is actually libertarian when it comes to regulating poisonous chemicals. But if they were libertarians, they would hold these companies accountable for poisoning people’s private property. If you own land in America, there are PFAS and other plastics in your groundwater, and it is in the rain.

It’s a violation of the non-aggression principle.

Also: it is simply absurd that the government is libertarian when it comes to regulating corporations and communist when it comes to everything else. This is not reasonable.