Montana Public Radio

Environmental Protection Agency


Governor Steve Bullock has appointed a former liaison in the Obama White House to a state cabinet position leading the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. 

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.

Drinking fountain.
Joseph Thomas Photography / iStock

State agencies are working on a proposed rule change that early next year would require every public school in the state to test drinking water for lead. One of them, Department of Environmental Quality, also proposes funnelling some of its funding into new grants to help schools pay for testing and remediation.

Headframe of the Original Mine in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks

This week, Butte residents will have another chance to influence the direction of the second Superfund-related health study currently underway. MTPR's Nora Saks has more on the public workshop coming up Tuesday night.

Every five years, the Environmental Protection Agency requires the parties responsible for Butte’s Superfund cleanup to conduct a health study and look at how well the cleanup is protecting locals from exposure to toxic heavy metals in the environment.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A proposal to ban new groundwater wells on the north end of Flathead Lake due to pollution concerns is moving forward.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation held a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to expand a ban on new groundwater wells on two additional properties near the former Somers Tie Plant.

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.

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