Plan for asbestos mine settlement meets resistance

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Asbestos tailings at the Lowell mine site.

by Tena Starr

A plan to spend $850,000 in settlement money from G-I Holdings, a former owner of the big, long defunct asbestos mine in Lowell and Eden has met with resistance.

The money, paid in full early this year, is supposed to offset environmental damage by improving natural resources similar to those that asbestos tailings from the mine might have contaminated.

The money went to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and the Department of the Interior.  Representatives of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were designated trustees of the settlement and had to come up with a plan for how to spend the money.  That plan largely consists of replacing culverts, with roughly half the settlement going to each town.

Lauren Bennett of the Fish and Wildlife Service said in an e-mail that the projects primarily focus on replacing culverts “in order to improve in-stream habitat for aquatic organisms, improve fish passage, and improve flood resiliency for local communities.”

The settlement can’t be used for cleanup at the mine site itself.

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