MTPR

Environmental Protection Agency

The Trump administration has moved to formally replace the Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that former President Barack Obama once lauded as the single-most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change.

The long-anticipated proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Jeremy Grotbo, with Butte-Silver Bow County, points to a trail feature on a map of Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors in Butte at the Community Design Workshop. August 7, 2018.
Nora Saks

Under the Superfund cleanup deal currently being negotiated for Butte, most of the historic mine waste lining the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors that carve through town is slated to be removed and cleaned up.

But what these big parcels of land and water will look like, feel like, and are used for after the cleanup is over - is much more open-ended.

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 a chance to help shape the designs for what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

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.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Over the weekend, the parties involved in Anaconda’s Superfund cleanup reached an “agreement in principle,” meeting the deadline set by the Environmental Protection Agency just in the nick of time. In April, an EPA regional administrator set a new deadline for a cleanup agreement of July 31.

That strategy worked. On Saturday night, the parties successfully reached a conceptual cleanup agreement for the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.

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. 

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

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to launch its second study of public health concerns related to Butte’s Superfund sites. But When locals found out the scope of the plan at a public meeting Tuesday, some were disappointed.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

A new Superfund health study is getting underway in Butte, and this week there’s a chance for the public to learn more about it and weigh in.

The town of Libby.
courtesy

Highway 37 fire, updated 4:20 p.m. July 20, 2018

A fire near the former vermiculite mine and a section of asbestos-contaminated forest outside Libby is drawing a quick response from crews working to control it.

The Highway 37 Fire, spotted Thursday evening about 4 miles north of Libby, quickly grew to about 50 acres today.

Thursday’s resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt draws decidedly different reactions from Montanans. And the man who will take Pruitt’s place is proving to be just as divisive.

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