MTPR

Doug Benevento

The Berkeley Pit in Butte
Mike Albans

Today is the day when a milestone in Butte’s Superfund cleanup was supposed to have been reached: a final Superfund deal for the Butte Hill. Now the parties negotiating that agreement say they need a little more time. 

On his last day on the job, former EPA Regional boss Doug Benevento told the parties hashing out the deal that they had until August 12 to get it done.

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.

EPA Region 8 Administrator Greg Sopkin chats with Butte residents Evan Barrett and Mick Ringsak after a community stakeholder meeting at the Butte-Silver Bow Archives on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The national office that investigates the EPA wants to hear what people in Anaconda think about the Superfund cleanup there.

The independent Office of the Inspector General (OIG) looks for fraud, waste and abuse in the Environmental Protection Agency. It also evaluates EPA’s programs, like Superfund, and makes recommendations on how they could be improved.

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.

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

An administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency who’s been praised by leaders in Butte and Anaconda has been promoted to become a senior advisor to the newly-confirmed head of the EPA.

Doug Benevento has been a frequent visitor to Montana, and helped negotiate final cleanup agreements for Butte and Anaconda. He’ll remain based in Denver, but with a broader portfolio than just the six states he’s overseen since 2017.

Cindy Perdue-Dolan (L) a field representative with Senator Daines' office looks on as Sister Mary Jo MacDonald shows pictures of the historic Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. Members of ROCC and Montana's Board of Investments are also pictured.
Nora Saks / MTPR

At sunrise on Halloween, the Butte Archives conference room was full of dozens of people dressed not in scary costumes - but in suits.

All of the major players who are brokering Butte’s final Superfund cleanup deal were there - including elected officials, top staff and attorneys from local and state government, Atlantic Richfield Company, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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

Last summer, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt established a Superfund Task Force, and named Butte and Anaconda as top priorities for completion of Superfund cleanups.

When Pruitt resigned last month, many in Montana wondered what that would mean here.

On the first anniversary of the Superfund Task Force, I sat down in Butte with Doug Benevento, the top administrator for EPA Region 8, to talk about what changes at the top mean for Montana.

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

The clock is ticking down for parties to reach a final cleanup agreement for Anaconda’s Superfund site. 

EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento talks with community members after an EPA meeting in Butte, May 2018.
Eric Whitney

Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte again Tuesday, June 12 for what they’re calling a “public availability session and workshop” on the proposed Superfund cleanup plan made public at the end of May.

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.

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