Montana Public Radio

Atlantic Richfield

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

The Environmental Protection Agency's newly appointed regional administrator says he wants to see the Butte Superfund cleanup move faster. He was in Montana last week, and says he’ll be back. MTPR's Nora Saks spoke with Montana Standard Editor David McCumber about the visit, and a rally planned for next week.

Olga Kreimer

On a sunny Saturday, while thousands were marching for science around the world, about 50 people gathered inside the Knights of Columbus Hall in Butte for a different kind of Earth Day celebration.

It was what 74-year-old Mary Kay Craig was calling a Butte-style wake.

“Well I’m Irish, so what am I supposed to say?” she asked.

Craig is with the Citizens for Labor and Environmental Justice and she organized the event, called Hope for Snow Geese.

Anaconda copper smelter.
Keith Ewing (CC-BY-NC-2) / Flickr

Homeowners in Anaconda recently got a letter from ARCO offering them $1,000 if they promised not to sue over lead cleanup on their property. It did not go over well. David McCumber, the editor of the Montana Standard has the details.

Anaconda copper smelter.
Keith Ewing (CC-BY-NC-2) / Flickr

Montana residents who signed contracts agreeing to accept $1,000 in exchange for not suing the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) over future mine waste cleanup in Opportunity will have the chance to reconsider.

A meeting was held last night in Anaconda to clarify the terms of the contracts for residents.

Berkeley Pit bird cannon, Butte, MT
Mark Thompson/Montana Resources

The people who manage the Berkeley Pit want to use lasers and cannons to try to save lives of migratory birds. Thousands of geese were killed last fall in the poisonous water of Butte’s Berkeley Pit. It was an environmental catastrophe that Mark Thompson hopes is never repeated.

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.

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