Montana Public Radio

Atlantic Richfield

David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard in Butte, MT.
Mike Albans

Last week, a citizens' environmental group in Butte presented new findings on levels of heavy metals contamination in Silver Bow Creek. Nora Saks talks to David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard, about that study and about the Superfund clean-up going forward.

David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard in Butte, MT.
Mike Albans

As we recently reported, a big pile of old smelter waste in the middle of Butte is one step closer to being removed.

The state of Montana this month signed an agreement with mining company Montana Resources that could lead to the removal of the Parrot tailings; a 50-foot-deep-pile of tailings behind the Butte Civic Center. The Montana Standard reports the agreement is an important first step, but at least one major obstacle remains. David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard joins us to explain:

Mark Thompson, environmental affairs manager for Montana Resources, standing above the Berkeley Pit.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

When 10,000 snow geese stopped to rest in Butte, in late November, the birds didn’t know they were landing in a toxic pit filled with acidic wastewater.

Hawk calls, intended to to scare away other birds, blare from speakers surrounding the pit.

Newspaper: Butte Citizens Have Lost Faith In Superfund Talks

Nov 29, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Confidential Superfund settlement negotiations to clean up a century's worth of mining waste in Butte need to be opened to the public because residents have lost faith that the U.S. government will protect their interests, an attorney for a Montana newspaper said Tuesday.

Judge To Hear Arguments On Disclosing Butte's Secret Superfund Talks

Nov 28, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An attorney for a Montana newspaper and an advocacy group will try to persuade a federal judge to strike down a 14-year-old court order that made settlement talks on how to clean up the nation's largest Superfund site confidential.

Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT
Flickr user Christopher (CC-BY-2.0)

On Monday night, the EPA presented its five-year review of the Superfund cleanup in Butte to a room full of frustrated residents and officials. David McCumber, editor of The Montana Standard talks to MTPR's Nora Saks about why the meeting got heated.

A lot of people know about the Berkeley Pit in Butte, but not many know about another significant pollution challenge in the Mining City. It’s called the Parrot Plume, and there’s controversy over whether it needs to be cleaned up, and if so, who would pay for it.

A restoration plan for the Upper Clark Fork Basin's largest wetland is now up for public review.

The Atlantic Richfield Company's draft wetland restoration plan is designed to address wetland loss related to mining and smelting contamination in the Clark Fork River Basin.

When your lab class is 100 feet underground

Oct 8, 2013
Dan Boyce

Montana Tech mining engineering junior Krystal Martin and the eight other students in her lab class were taking turns using a heavy, pneumatic, jack-leg drill to bore six foot holes into a solid rock wall last Friday. It’s definitely louder than the average college lab course, and rather than crisp, white lab coats, students wear mud-soaked work boots, dust streaked faces and hard hats.

About 22,000 men worked the underground mines of Butte at the city’s peak, hauling 20,000 tons of ore back to the surface every day.

But, that was almost 100 years ago.

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