Baucus Awarded for Long History of Advocating for Asbestos Victims
Senator to Receive Tribute of Hope Award from National Asbestos Awareness Group
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011
Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus will be presented with the Tribute of Hope Award, announced by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) this week, for his tireless efforts fighting on behalf of residents of Libby, Lincoln County and Asbestos victims everywhere.
"It's an honor to receive this award. I'm humbled and grateful to the people of Libby for their courage and resilience in the face of this outrageous tragedy, and this award truly belongs to them. I'm also grateful to organizations like the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and folks in Montana and all over the country who've worked so hard to raise awareness and fight for the victims of Asbestos exposure," Baucus said. "There's nothing we can ever do to fully right the unimaginable wrong that took place in Libby. But I'm committed to the fight to make sure Libby gets the tools it needs to clean up this disaster and care for everyone who has suffered as a result."
Baucus has been a long-time champion of asbestos awareness in his efforts to declare the mining tragedy in Lincoln County a public health emergency and make sure folks there have access to the clean-up tools and health care they need.
Since news reports first linked widespread deaths and illness to exposure to deadly asbestos fibers at the defunct W.R Grace and Co. mine, Baucus has visited Libby more than 20 times, secured millions for healthcare and cleanup, brought numerous White House cabinet secretaries to the town, helped save the CARD clinic, and has dogged the EPA to keep cleanup efforts moving forward.
As far back as 1999, Baucus wrote a letter to then Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala requesting immediate medical help and assistance to the area. He further lambasted the EPA's decision to not declare a Public Health Emergency, calling it an "outrage."
In 2008, Baucus released a report detailing a 2002 attempt by the EPA to declare a Public Health Emergency in Libby that was thwarted by the previous Administration's Office of Management and Budget. And on June 17, 2009, due in large part to Baucus' efforts, the EPA declared its first ever public health emergency in Libby, Montana.
As a the key author of health care reform law, Baucus fought hard to make sure the law included a mechanism for residents of Libby and Lincoln County to access the health care they were entitled to as victims of a public health emergency. As a result, victims of asbestos exposure in Lincoln County began getting care under Medicare in the Spring of 2010.
Baucus will be presented the award at ADAO's Seventh Annual International Asbestos Awareness Conference, which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 1-3.
Contact: Kate Downen (406) 224-5056/Jennifer Donohue (202) 224-2651/Kathy Weber (406) 657-5915
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