Montana Public Radio

Anaconda Montana

EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento (R) joined Anaconda's Chief Executive Officer Bill Everett, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, and local business leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony for a new hotel complex in Anaconda. October 13, 2020.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency’s second in command returned to Butte and Anaconda this week to celebrate major milestones in their decades-long Superfund cleanups and talk about next steps.

The Montana Land Board on July 20 approved three Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) land purchases totalling nearly 740 acres.

Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of FWP purchasing a 600 acre section of land near Anaconda as an addition to the nearly 10,000 acre Garrity Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

Mike Mueller with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation spoke during a public comment period.


Montana’s land board will vote on July 20 on a proposed addition to a wildlife management area near Anaconda. State biologists, a local rod and gun club and several conservation groups say making the section of private land public would protect key wildlife habitat from subdivisions and improve access for recreationists.

Anaconda smelter stack as seen in 2007.
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Anaconda residents are coming to grips with an agreement recently released to the public that will revamp the Superfund cleanup in the area. The public had their first chance to weigh-in on the proposed deal at  meeting this week.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Public meetings over a newly released agreement guiding the remainder of the Anaconda Superfund cleanup will be held over the first two weeks of March.

ATSDR Medical officer Capt. Arthur Wendel (L) and health assessor David Dorian explain the nuances of the agency's exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. Oct 30, 2019.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal investigators that study public health risks at Superfund sites had good news for Anacondans this week. At a meeting on Wednesday, they reported that the amount of lead and arsenic in residents' bodies are about the same as the rest of the country.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal public health investigators that study risks at Superfund sites are coming back to Anaconda this week to discuss the results of a study examining locals’ exposure to lead and arsenic. Health officials are expected to report those exposure levels are normal.

About 50 people attended EPA's Superfund meeting at the Anaconda senior center to learn about the agency's proposed updates to the surface water remedy for the Anaconda Regional Waste, Water, and Soils Operable Unit. September 17, 2019.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is rolling out an updated plan to protect Anaconda’s creeks from copper smelter waste. But some locals this week said they’re worried the federal government may back away from Montana’s strict water quality standards for heavy metals.

Nora Saks

Wednesday night, Anacondans got a rare chance to speak directly about their experience with Superfund to the national office that investigates the Environmental Protection Agency. And most of what they had to say wasn’t complimentary.

Anaconda residents have attended countless Superfund meetings over the last 36 years. But unlike the others, this one wasn’t hosted by EPA.

EPA Region 8's Betsy Smidinger and Greg Sopkin met with community stakeholders at Archives on Tuesday,  June 11, 2019.
Nora Saks

The national office that audits the EPA is in Anaconda this week holding a listening session about the Superfund cleanup there.

Superfund is a priority for the EPA, according to the new chief of EPA Region 8. Montana Public Radio's Nora Saks sat down with him during his first visit to Butte last month to find out more about his priorities.

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