Montana Public Radio

mining

Members of the grassroots Restore Our Creek Coalition express concerns about their vision for a reconstructed Upper Silver Bow Creek to EPA officials at a meeting at the Butte Chamber of Commerce. At left is Montana Standard Reporter Susan Dunlap
Nora Saks

EPA officials met with some of Butte’s most vocal Superfund cleanup activists Tuesday to update them on the activists’ goal to restore Upper Silver Bow Creek.

For years, members of the local Restore Our Creek Coalition have been saying that Butte’s Superfund cleanup won’t be complete unless Upper Silver Bow Creek is re-constructed as a free-flowing stream where kids can fish and play, after nearly a century of serving as a wastewater ditch.

A map from a Montana Resources permit request showing the location of a proposed limestone mine near Drummond, Mont.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality

A proposal for a new limestone mine near Drummond is now open for public comment.

A subsidiary of the Washington Companies is seeking a permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to operate a 546-acre open pit mine two-and-a-half miles west of Drummond.

The Earth passed a new threshold this week — an observatory in Hawaii clocked the highest levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in human history. A number of studies say CO2 is part of what’s driving higher temperatures, drought and longer fire seasons in the West. Now ranchers in Montana are testing out a new program that’s trying to put some of that carbon back in the ground.

The Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Treated water that was contaminated by toxic mining waste is being pumped out of Butte's Berkeley Pit.

The Montana Standard reports that officials last week started pumping out about 3 million gallons a day, which is roughly the daily amount of water entering in the pit.

Ron Burns was among a half dozen people to speak in support of the Black Butte Copper Project during a public meeting in White Sulphur Springs April 30, 2019.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Around 60 people sat on the bleachers of the White Sulphur Springs high school gym Tuesday night, 15 miles south of where a proposed underground mine could remove more than 14 million of tons of copper-enriched rock from the earth.

The meeting was the last of three for public input on the state’s draft environmental impact statement on the controversial Black Butte Mining Project, located on private land near the Little Belt Mountains.

Map showing the location of the proposed Black Butte Mine in Montana.
Montana DEQ

The proposed Black Butte copper mine outside White Sulphur Springs is the topic of two public meetings coming up Monday and Tuesday.

Monday evening’s meeting is at Park High School in Livingston. On Tuesday it’s at White Sulphur Springs High. Both meetings start at 6 p.m.

The panel at an April 23, 2019 public meeting on the "proposed plan" included officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

On Tuesday night, Butte residents got their first chance to respond to the changes EPA wants to make to the Superfund cleanup plan for the Butte Hill and Silver Bow Creek corridor. 

Martin Hestmark with the EPA’s regional office, explained to the 80 or so people at the public meeting at Montana Tech that the crux of the plan focuses on managing stormwater. It runs off the steep Butte Hill and contaminates Silver Bow and Blacktail Creeks in the valley below.

USDA NRCS

A federal judge in Great Falls Friday said the Trump administration failed to consider the environmental effects of its decision to resume coal sales from federal lands that the Obama administration stopped. But the judge stopped short of halting future sales.

Retired hydrogeologist Joe Griffin stands next to a groundwater sampling well in Butte's Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor. January 24, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency released the changes they want to make to the 2006 legal Record of Decision (ROD) which governs the Superfund cleanup of the Butte Hill and Upper Silver Bow Creek corridor.

A state judge has revoked the water permit for a silver and copper mine proposed beneath a northwestern Montana wilderness area.

Judge Kathy Seeley said in a recent order that state officials did not adequately consider potential damage to nearby streams from Hecla Mining Company’s Rock Creek Mine.

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