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Atlantic Richfield Company Strikes Back In Cleanup Case
Brian McCloskey


Atlantic Richfield Company is countersuing residents near Anaconda in an ongoing dispute over Superfund cleanup. 

 Residents with property around the former smelting site now owned by ARCO are dismayed by the company’s unexpected legal move last week. Citizens in Opportunity and Crackerville first filed a complaint against ARCO almost a decade ago demanding property reparations.  

Shaun Hoolahan and his wife Patrice are two of the 97 who brought suit. They say their property in Opportunity is contaminated with arsenic.

“To me it’s just more games, more delay, increase in costs," Hoolahan said. "You know, it's been seven years since we filed the initial lawsuit."

Residents have asked for $38 - 101 million in property reparations.

ARCO’scountersuit claims the company is already complying with Environmental Protection Agency cleanup procedures. A written statement from the company calls an additional cleanup plan “unnecessary.”  

A lawyer for the Anaconda-area residents, Mark Kovacich, says he’ll file a motion to dismiss ARCO’s complaint.  

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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