Montana Public Radio

Butte Montana

The panel at an April 23, 2019 public meeting on the "proposed plan" included officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

On Tuesday night, Butte residents got their first chance to respond to the changes EPA wants to make to the Superfund cleanup plan for the Butte Hill and Silver Bow Creek corridor. 

Martin Hestmark with the EPA’s regional office, explained to the 80 or so people at the public meeting at Montana Tech that the crux of the plan focuses on managing stormwater. It runs off the steep Butte Hill and contaminates Silver Bow and Blacktail Creeks in the valley below.

Great Pasty Throwdown takes place in Butte, June 8, 2019.
National Center for Appropriate Technology


The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is celebrating local food in Butte at the Summer Sosten Fest in June.

“The highlight of the Summer Sosten Fest is going to be the first annual Great Butte Pasty Throwdown,” says NCAT Executive Director Steve Thompson in a video posted on the Sosten Fest website.

The proposed plan includes seven significant changes, four of which are expansions of construction activities. Additional details are in the proposed plan.
EPA

Potential changes to the Superfund cleanup plan for Butte are on the table this week at the first of two public meetings in the Mining City.

On Tuesday night the EPA will explain and take feedback on proposed changes to the 2006 legal Record of Decision that governs the cleanup of the Butte Hill and Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor in town. The plan includes waiving some state water quality standards in Butte’s creeks and replacing them with federal ones.

Retired hydrogeologist Joe Griffin stands next to a groundwater sampling well in Butte's Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. January 24, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released the changes they want to make to the 2006 legal Record of Decision (ROD) which governs the Superfund cleanup of the Butte Hill and Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor.

David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard, speaks at a rally calling for a complete clean-up of Silver Bow Creek, Nov. 14, 2017.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A proposal would set aside some money from a Superfund cleanup settlement to build a man-made creek through the center of Butte.

This section of Silver Bow Creek that runs through Slag Canyon in Butte will be rerouted in EPA's "proposed plan" for changes to the 2006 Record of Decision.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Updated and expanded, April 11, 5:45 p.m.

I’m down in the valley at the bottom of the Butte Hill with Nikia Greene, looking at two skinny headwater streams flowing towards Silver Bow Creek and the Clark Fork River downstream.

"This is Blacktail Creek. We’re just above where the confluence of Blacktail Creek and Upper Silver Bow Creek, at the Visitor’s Center. You can see a wetland in the background," Greene says.

In August 1917, Frank Little was the victim of a grisly murder in Butte. Little was a labor organizer who came to Butte to unify and radicalize Butte’s miners in their fight against the Anaconda Mining Company for higher wages and safer working conditions. Most historians believe that the Anaconda Company was behind Little’s killing, but no one knows for sure. A note pinned to his underwear threatened, "Others take notice: first and last warning," along with the numbers 3-7-77, the calling card of frontier vigilantes.

The Montana Superfund liaison that the Environmental Protection Agency hired in February has quit. Her departure comes during a critical decision making period for both the Butte and Anaconda Superfund sites.

EPA Liaison Jacqui Barker quit as the agency’s community involvement coordinator for most of Montana’s Superfund sites after just two months on the job, citing personal reasons.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

After more than 30 years on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List, the federal agency has given Butte a date for finalization of a legally binding cleanup deal for the Butte Hill and the Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor.

All of Montana knows that Butte is a big deal. Now readers of 'The New Yorker' know too.

"'Richest Hill,' a new podcast from Montana Public Radio, made me care intensely about the former copper-mining boomtown of Butte, Montana—and urgently want to understand it better. Reported and written by Nora Saks and edited and produced by Nick Mott and Eric Whitney, “Richest Hill” has a mood of straightforward friendliness, but it’s also full of surprises ... It’s no small feat to tell an enjoyable story about a Superfund site, but, so far, 'Richest Hill' pulls it off."

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