MTPR

Libby Montana

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.

BNSF Railway is promoting Libby as an area ripe for new rail-reliant development. The Kootenai Business Park is one of three industrial sites nationwide BNSF is spotlighting this year.

BNSF’s Certified Sites program identifies and promotes areas it deems “shovel-ready” for new businesses to set up shop. The designation is based on an evaluation of environmental standards, available utilities and existing infrastructure. It’s meant to lower risk for companies looking to develop quickly in an area that can speedily ship goods to market.

The Wigwam Fire burning near Ennis on Aug. 15.
Inciweb

Rain in western Montana Monday did little to slow fire growth across the state.

"Well it’s a mixed blessing," said Jay Nichols, a spokesperson assigned to the Monument and Wigwam Fires burning south of Ennis. "So obviously wind isn’t a good thing, rain’s a good thing, but I don’t know that it will be a substantial amount of rain."

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.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 30, 2018

Jul 30, 2018
The Lee Creek fire burning near Lolo Hot Springs was spotted July 29, 2018 from a Forest Service detection flight.
Lolo National Forest

 


Updated and corrected: 5:35 p.m., 07/30/18

Twenty fires have flared up in the Kootenai National Forest, all caused by lightning from weekend storms.

Most of the fires are only burning a few acres, but the Davis Fire is now reported at 1,000 acres in size, according to a post on the Kootenai National Forest Facebook page. A fire spokesperson told MTPR Monday afternoon that the Davis fire was only 50 acres.

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