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Atlantic Richfield

Butte-Silver Bow County's Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso stands in front of the overlook at Foreman's Park in Butte in June 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

  Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled some details about the proposed Superfund cleanup for Butte. This week I had a chance to interview Butte-Silver Bow County Superfund coordinator Jon Sesso at Foreman’s Park in Butte to find out what that plan might mean for the town.

EPA Region 8 Administrator Doug Benevento talks to MTPR's Nora Saks in Butte.
Eric Whitney


  In January, after 12 years of secret negotiations, top officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency came to Butte and said they now have a plan to finish the Mining City’s Superfund cleanup in just six years. They said the parties responsible for that had reached agreement on what it should include and who would pay for it.

More than 100 people came to Montana Tech at noon on Wednesday to hear about the cleanup plan
Eric Whitney

This post was updated at 9 PM Wed, May 30.

Top EPA officials were in Butte yesterday to explain details of the proposed Superfund cleanup that was agreed to in January, and get feedback from locals. 

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The gag order on the Butte Superfund cleanup agreement was partially lifted by a federal judge yesterday. Susan Dunlap, the Montana Standard’s natural resources reporter spoke with MTPR’s Nora Saks about what that means for the mining city.

Community members listen to updates on Butte Superfund issues from EPA officials at the Butte public archives April 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

A federal judge Tuesday partially lifted the gag order on a big part of the Butte Superfund cleanup agreement. That’s according to a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The parties to that agreement will hold two public meetings to explain what it’s all about on May 30 at Montana Tech Auditorium, from noon to 1:30 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m.

Albert "Kel" Kelly, (left) head of EPA's Superfund task force, and Doug Benevento updated the public on Butte Superfund cleanup issues in Butte, MT, April 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

Residents of Butte are one big step closer to learning details about the Superfund clean-up planned for the Butte Hill.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a joint motion on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and Atlantic Richfield to loosen the gag-order on the so-called “conceptual agreement” for the consent decree on this portion of Butte’s Superfund cleanup.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Department of Justice today filed a motion to lift the gag order on the new agreement to clean up a big portion of the Butte Superfund site. That agreement could result in part of the site being removed from the Superfund list by 2024.

EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento meeting with Anaconda residents on April 10, 2018
Nora Saks

CORRECTION: This story was updated on April 12, 2018 to clarify the legal status of the Anaconda Superfund cleanup, see copy in bold below.    

The EPA’s top regional administrator set a new timeline for completing cleanup of the Anaconda Superfund site, speaking today in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Old Works Golf Course.

"We will start in complete de-listing parts of the Anaconda Superfund site this year, so that we can start to lift the stigma,” said Doug Benevento, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 office in Denver.

The Berkeley pit in Butte, Montana, as seen from above.
NASA (CC-BY-2)

The mining companies in charge of the Berkeley Pit are going to start pumping, treating and discharging the water in the former open pit copper mine into Silver Bow Creek five years earlier than planned. Susan Dunlap is reporting that story for the Montana Standard in Butte. She spoke to MTPR's Nora Saks.

Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Doug Benevento, at right of screen, spoke in Butte in January, 2018
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The regional head of the Environmental Protection Agency says Butte could move off the federal Superfund list by 2024, but details of that plan aren’t expected to be made public until this summer.

Administrator Doug Benevento announced steps toward a legal settlement for the cleanup of toxic mining waste in town before a crowd of more than 60 people in the Butte Friday.

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