Montana Public Radio

Environmental Protection Agency

EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento (R) joined Anaconda's Chief Executive Officer Bill Everett, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, and local business leaders for a groundbreaking ceremony for a new hotel complex in Anaconda. October 13, 2020.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency’s second in command returned to Butte and Anaconda this week to celebrate major milestones in their decades-long Superfund cleanups and talk about next steps.

Flathead Lake Biological Station research boat, Jessie-B.
Courtesy Flathead Lake Biological Station

The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station will study how tribal efforts to suppress non-native lake trout populations are possibly shifting the buildup of toxins in other fish species. The project is part of an inaugural wave of federal funding announced Wednesday for projects along the Columbia River Basin.

Silver Bow Creek in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Butte’s $150 million cleanup deal is at last carved in legal stone after more than a decade of negotiations, and more than three decades on the Superfund National Priorities List.

On Wednesday, a federal district judge gave his final stamp of approval to an overarching Superfund settlement for the Butte Hill and its headwaters streams below.

Locations of surface water remedy components for the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit.
Land Design Inc. - BPSOU Record of Decision

Butte’s pending $150 million Superfund cleanup deal is now one step away from being legally set in stone.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday filed a motion to enter the Superfund deal, or consent decree, with the Federal District Court of Montana, recommending the court approve it.

A federal agency proposed granting superfund status to an area of Billings, Mont. contaminated by dry cleaning chemicals.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Sept. 1 announced it’ll recommend a roughly 855 acre area in Billings be added to the National Priorities List as a federal Superfund site.

Officials say the plume could affect around 1,100 structures in central and downtown Billings.

EPA project manager Roger Hoogerheide says if the site wins federal superfund status the agency will conduct indoor air investigations.

Libby Superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

A proposed agreement charging BNSF Railway Company with the operation and maintenance of the Libby Asbestos Superfund unit running along its tracks was announced Tuesday by federal and state officials.

Trump Administration Finalizes Coal Plant Pollution Rollback

Aug 31, 2020
Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.
Courtesy Alexis Bonogofsky - Montana Environmental Information Center

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Monday finalized its weakening of an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing pollution from coal-burning power plants that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers

The change will allow utilities to use cheaper technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines that are less stringent than what the agency originally adopted in 2015.

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Work to prevent harmful sediment from flowing into the Flathead River from a former aluminum plant will begin this fall. This is the first remediation project to take place at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site.

The Gallatin City-County Health Department recently detected a toxic algae bloom in a privately-owned pond in Bozeman. It’s the first one in the county this year.

Gallatin County temporarily closed a pond at Sundance Springs Subdivision on July 10 after test results came back positive for algal toxins, which are released by certain types of algae after rapid growth followed by decay.

A coal mining company that works in Montana filed a request in May for a judicial review of a recently changed rule for power plant air emissions standards. A Montana environmental group filed a motion to intervene this past week.

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