Montana Public Radio

Environmental Protection Agency

Butte-Silver Bow County's Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso stands in front of the overlook at Foreman's Park in Butte in June 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

  Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled some details about the proposed Superfund cleanup for Butte. This week I had a chance to interview Butte-Silver Bow County Superfund coordinator Jon Sesso at Foreman’s Park in Butte to find out what that plan might mean for the town.

EPA Region 8 Administrator Doug Benevento talks to MTPR's Nora Saks in Butte.
Eric Whitney


  In January, after 12 years of secret negotiations, top officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency came to Butte and said they now have a plan to finish the Mining City’s Superfund cleanup in just six years. They said the parties responsible for that had reached agreement on what it should include and who would pay for it.

More than 100 people came to Montana Tech at noon on Wednesday to hear about the cleanup plan
Eric Whitney

This post was updated at 9 PM Wed, May 30.

Top EPA officials were in Butte yesterday to explain details of the proposed Superfund cleanup that was agreed to in January, and get feedback from locals. 

EPA

A top official from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte Wednesday to explain the proposed Superfund cleanup plan that was made partially public by a federal judge last week.

The final cleanup agreement, or consent decree, will cover most of the city and its land and water. The EPA has been negotiating it with state and local governments and industry in secret for the last 12 years. Now, those parties can share details of the plan for finishing a big portion of Butte’s Superfund cleanup.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

The gag order on the Butte Superfund cleanup agreement was partially lifted by a federal judge yesterday. Susan Dunlap, the Montana Standard’s natural resources reporter spoke with MTPR’s Nora Saks about what that means for the mining city.

Albert "Kel" Kelly, (left) head of EPA's Superfund task force, and Doug Benevento updated the public on Butte Superfund cleanup issues in Butte, MT, April 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

Residents of Butte are one big step closer to learning details about the Superfund clean-up planned for the Butte Hill.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a joint motion on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and Atlantic Richfield to loosen the gag-order on the so-called “conceptual agreement” for the consent decree on this portion of Butte’s Superfund cleanup.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Department of Justice today filed a motion to lift the gag order on the new agreement to clean up a big portion of the Butte Superfund site. That agreement could result in part of the site being removed from the Superfund list by 2024.

Albert "Kel" Kelly, (left) head of EPA's Superfund task force, and Doug Benevento updated the public on Butte Superfund cleanup issues in Butte, MT, April 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

Top national, regional and local officials from the Environmental Protection Agency made a stop in Butte on Wednesday to update the public on a laundry list of Superfund agency items. 

That included the gag order on the "conceptual agreement" reached in late January by the parties responsible for cleaning up the Butte Hill and upper Silver Bow Creek. 

EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento meeting with Anaconda residents on April 10, 2018
Nora Saks

CORRECTION: This story was updated on April 12, 2018 to clarify the legal status of the Anaconda Superfund cleanup, see copy in bold below.    

The EPA’s top regional administrator set a new timeline for completing cleanup of the Anaconda Superfund site, speaking today in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Old Works Golf Course.

"We will start in complete de-listing parts of the Anaconda Superfund site this year, so that we can start to lift the stigma,” said Doug Benevento, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 office in Denver.

Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Doug Benevento, at right of screen, spoke in Butte in January, 2018
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

This week, top staff from the Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte and Anaconda meeting with local leaders, holding public meetings and touring Superfund sites.

Last year, the EPA added both sites to their so-called national “emphasis list.”

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