Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

The state of Montana is adding extra cleanup measures at a former wood treatment plant turned Superfund site in Butte.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality on Monday released its reasons for pursuing more stringent environmental protection, among them that levels of the contaminant dioxin at the Montana Pole & Treating Plant fall short of current cleanup standards.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Monday said directors nominated to lead 12 state agencies will receive an average salary increase of 20 percent over their predecessors. Funding for the pay increases will come from their respective departments.

“Montana’s pay for agency directors has been among the worst in our region and country," Gianforte said in a press release. "We’re looking for folks who can make our state agencies more responsive to the people they serve and more responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Reclamation crews started removing the Mike Horse Dam at the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, Mont. in 2014.
Courtesy of Montana Department of Environmental Quality

State and federal officials say a large mining clean-up project in Montana is nearly complete and open for recreation.

At the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex east of Lincoln, crews have removed roughly 1 million cubic yards of tailings and mine waste. The area is the former site of a lead and zinc mine along with the six-and-a-half-story high Mike Horse Dam, which is made of mining waste.

A Montana agency gave the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline the go ahead to cross water bodies in eastern Montana before the state could fully review over 650 public comments.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality on Dec. 31 granted Canadian developer TC Energy a 401 Water Quality Certification to cross roughly 200 protected water bodies in Montana.

Federal law gives agencies up to a year to come to a decision on a certification.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

State environmental regulators Friday approved new standards for a heavy metal in Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River.

Republican Montana Governor-elect Greg Gianforte Friday announced his joint transition advisory team for two agencies key to managing the state’s natural resources.

A news release says the team will review candidates to serve as the next directors of the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Gianforte campaigned on a promise to get rid of what he called needless delays in permitting and create good-paying Montana jobs.

Talen Proposes Partial Excavation Of Colstrip Waste Ponds

Sep 22, 2020

The company that operates the Colstrip coal fired power plant is proposing to partially excavate waste ponds that have been contaminating groundwater for decades.

State regulators are now accepting comments on the plan.

Talen Energy’s report explores ways to prevent future groundwater pollution from the Units 1 and 2 coal ash ponds, which are leaking coal ash contaminants like boron and sulfate into groundwater.

The operator of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant submitted its cleanup plan for parts of the plant it shuttered early this year.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality accepted Talen Energy’s remediation plan for the now-defunct Units 1 and 2 and opened up public comment on that report this week.

Sara Edinberg with DEQ says the plan inventories what’s left inside the buildings.

The Montana Department of Environmental quality is asking for public input on a draft plan to clean up contaminated sediment at the former Bonner Mill site near the Blackfoot River.

Montana is getting ready to green light the proposed expansion of a waste-holding pond at a mine in south central Montana.

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