Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Feds Agree To Settle Powell County Oil Cleanup Debt

The U.S. Department of Treasury has agreed to settle a Montana county’s debt for the cleanup of a 2011 oil spill. Montana’s Congressional delegation announced the settlement Friday following their bipartisan pressure on the federal department.

Powell County Attorney Kathryn McEnery says the treasury department has agreed to accept the county’s offer to pay $200,000 for the past cleanup of the Milwaukee Roundhouse site in Deer Lodge.

The fuel oil, which required cleanup, was discovered in 2011 from an abandoned tank used by Milwaukee Railroad close to a tributary of the Clark Fork River. The U.S. Coast Guard billed the county around $4 million for that work.

"The $4 million was completely out of reach," McEnery says.

Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Greg Gianforte wrote multiple letters to the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin asking the federal department to absolve or settle the debt burden. In a letter from June 2018, the delegation wrote that Powell County simply couldn't afford to pay the bill.

All three members of the delegation praised the settlement in a press release.

County Attorney McEnery says Powell County commissioners still need to give their final approval of the settlement.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information
Related Content