Montana Public Radio

Environmental Protection Agency

The City of Missoula, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Libby School District are all receiving hundreds of thousands of grant dollars to clean up contaminated and polluted properties. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the grants Tuesday. The grants from the EPA’s Brownfields Program range from $300,000 to nearly $400,000.

Work to clean up two contaminated ponds bordering the Flathead River at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site was completed earlier this month.

CFAC announced the cleanup and removal of the two percolation ponds at the now defunct aluminum smelter in a press release. Work wrapped up on March 19. The removal of the ponds means the Flathead River returns to its natural channel.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday announced that it issued compliance orders to correct violations for water systems on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Reservations.

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.