Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality opened a 30-day public comment period Tuesday for a proposed major revision at Spring Creek Coal Mine in southeast Montana. The revision could allow about 72 million tons of coal to be mined.

Montana proposed regulations on Friday that outline what facilities need to do to dispose of radioactive waste while also monitoring for environmental side effects.


The state expects to release final details of plans to clean up groundwater contaminated by toxic coal ash at the Colstrip power plant next month.

Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment. Butte, MT. Oct. 3, 2018.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Copper mining company Montana Resources is now one step away from receiving approval from state regulators to expand its permanent mine tailings storage facility in Butte.

Since 1986, Montana Resources (MR) has been sending the slurry of waste from its open pit copper and molybdenum mine in Butte up to the Yankee Doodle Tailings Impoundment, which sits uphill and northeast of the Berkeley Pit.

The Cabinet Mountains as seen from Highway 56 near Noxon, MT.
U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (PD)

The proposed Montanore copper and silver mine in the Cabinet Mountains has experienced another setback. A state district court judge found Friday that a state-issued water quality permit violated state and federal water quality regulations.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official says a Montana area emitting toxic vapors is a candidate to become a federal Superfund site.

The Billings Gazette reports contaminants from old dry cleaning solvents are evaporating at several spots in an 855-acre (355-hectare) area in Billings.

Nora Saks

The company that operates the active copper mine in Butte, Montana Resources, is seeking permission to expand its tailings dam, so it can keep mining. But Atlantic Richfield, which shares responsibility for the Berkeley Pit, says one day the dam could collapse, fill the pit and destroy Butte if more isn’t done. Nora Saks sat down with the Montana Standard’s environmental reporter, Susan Dunlap, to find out more.

Water faucet.
(PD)

A warning for water customers in the Wye Area west of Missoula not to consume drinking water was lifted Friday.

Wye Area Water System determined during a routine monthly test that a water storage tank was illegally accessed and could have had unknown contaminants.

Eric Hassler (L) and Jon Sesso (R) are Butte-Silver Bow's Superfund operations manager and coordinator, pictured here at Catch Basin 8. May 28, 2019.
Nora Saks

The deadline for comments on EPA’s proposed changes to Butte’s Superfund cleanup is fast approaching. MTPR's Nora Saks went in the field with two of Butte-Silver Bow’s Superfund staff to find out more about the county’s take on the plan, their role, and what stormwater’s got to do with it.

Montana air quality from 3-4 p.m., May 31, 2019.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Smoke from large wildfires Alberta drifted into more of Montana Friday, causing haze and air quality issues on both sides of the divide.

Air Quality Meteorologist Kristen Martin with Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality says today may be the worst for the state, at least for now.

Pages