MTPR

Environmental Protection Agency

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

The viewing stand at the Berkeley Pit in September.
Nora Saks / MTPR

Construction on a long-awaited water treatment facility that will pump and treat toxic water from the Berkeley Pit officially began Monday in Butte.

David Dorian, an environmental health specialist with ATSDR, discusses a new exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. July 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

The federal agency that investigates health risks at Superfund sites is in Anaconda this coming weekend offering free arsenic and lead testing to the first 200 people to sign up.

Results from this study could influence the final cleanup deal currently being negotiated for the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler outside Anaconda, Sept. 7, 2018. Behind him, L to R: Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Superfund Coordinator Carl Nyman, MT A.G. Tim Fox, EPA Regional Adm. Doug Benevento, County CEO Bill Everett, Sen. Steve Daines
Eric Whitney

"I’m very happy to be here. This is a historic occasion," U.S. Senator Steve Daines said at a press conference in Butte Friday morning.

He was introducing the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who, at his invitation, was visiting Superfund sites in Butte and Anaconda. The last time the top boss of the EPA did that was 28 years earlier.

L to R, Butte Superfund Activist Fritz Dailey, US Senator Steve Daines and Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler at the confluence of Blacktail and Silver Bow Creeks in Butte, September 7, 2018.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency visited the Superfund sites in Butte and Anaconda Friday. The last time the head of the agency did so was 28 years ago.

Andrew Wheeler was named acting administrator of the EPA in July, following the departure of Scott Pruitt amid ethics scandals.

The Libby eagle sits above downtown Libby, Montana.
Nicky Ouellet

In about a year, the Environmental Protection Agency will leave Libby, where it’s worked for the last two decades to clean up asbestos contamination, a lethal byproduct leftover from W.R. Grace’s vermiculite mine. But locals in Lincoln County say the EPA packing up doesn’t necessarily mean cleanup work is done.

Bill MacGregor and Janice Hogan are the vice president and coordinator of the Citizens Technical Environmental Committee in Butte, seen in this photo from June 6, 2018.
Nora Saks

Billie Richardson is chatting with customers at Suited For Success, a small non-profit thrift store she runs in Uptown Butte. Richardson is 74 years-old. She was raised here, and for a while, moved around.

"I’ve lived a lot of places but I always come back because this is home," says Richardson. "Butte’s the last best place.”

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Montana Department of Labor and Industry

The Chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte and Anaconda Friday, Senator Steve Daines announced Tuesday.  

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler will tour Superfund sites and meet with local leaders and community members in the Mining and Smelter cities.

Evan Barrett, a member of Butte's local Restore Our Creek Coalition, looks at plans for the creek corridors with state budget director Dan Villa. August 30, 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday, August 30, about 60 people huddled around tables in the backroom of the Butte Brewing Company, not drinking, but pouring over maps of the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors at the second in a series of community design workshops.

Dave Hutchins (L) and Daniel Hogan look over plans for the cleanup and restoration of the SIlver Bow Creek corridor with Julia Crain, a special projects planner with Butte-Silver Bow county's Superfund Division, June 12, 2018.
Nora Saks

This week, locals in Butte will have another chance to help design what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

The Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors, which run through the center of Butte, will probably look a lot different about five years from now.

Pages