This week, top staff from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte and Anaconda meeting with local leaders, holding public meetings and touring Superfund sites.
Regional EPA Administrator Doug Benevento was last in Montana at the end of January to announce that after 12 years of negotiations on the cleanup of the Butte Hill and upper Silver Bow Creek, the parties had reached a conceptual agreement.
“This really isn’t the beginning of the end," Benevento said, "maybe we’re a little past the end of the beginning. But we’ve got a lot of things left to do, and we all just need to understand that and not relax.”
Joining Benevento will be Albert Kelly, the head of the Superfund Task Force and senior adviser to EPA Chief Scott Pruitt.
Benevento has set a timeline to be done cleaning up both the Anaconda and Butte Superfund sites and de-list them by the end of 2024.
“We wanted to provide a date," Benevento said. "It’s been quite a number of years that we have been out here. I think setting a date and having a timeline is a mechanism. As I said teammates hold each other accountable, now hold us accountable to this number.”
According to the Montana Standard, EPA leaders will hold a public meeting at the Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda on Tuesday, where they are expected to set a timeline on how to proceed with the cleanup there, despite the lack of a finalized financial agreement. They’ll also be joined by an official from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to discuss a new public health study, in response to local leaders’ request.
On Wednesday, the EPA officials will hold a public meeting at the Butte Archives where they will discuss a number of items on the community’s Superfund agenda.