MTPR

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Efforts to clean up the shuttered Columbia Falls Aluminum Company smelter have hit a snag.

State and federal officials will brief the residents in Columbia Falls Thursday.

Montana’s Department of Environmental quality wanted to speed up the process that could qualify the closed smelter for federal “Superfund” cleanup money.

Before state inspectors could assess the problem in detail, the company would have to sign a consent decree, according to DEQ attorney William Kirley.

Governor Steve Bullock's longtime Chief of Staff is leaving and is being replaced by Tracy Stone-Manning, the current Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Bullock's outgoing chief of staff, Tim Burton, is leaving to lead the Montana League of Cities and Towns; a nonprofit association of 129 Montana municipalities. Burton says Stone-Manning is an excellent choice.

A new study on the probability of more landslides at the Berkeley Pit Superfund site in Butte will be made public soon.

Last week Silver Bow County commissioners got a tour of the Butte Superfund site, led by Steve Walsh, an executive with Montana Resources. That company is actively mining for copper and molybdenum at the Continental Pit in Butte, but has operations at Berkeley Pit as well.

From a point high on the Berkeley Pit’s rim, Walsh pointed out where the company used to be more active there until last year.

Cheri Trusler

A meeting to talk about reducing Montana’s carbon dioxide emissions drew more than 150 people to a Missoula hotel last night.

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality invited people to hear about and comment on their “white paper,” which shows five different strategies for the state to reduce Co2 emissions to meet a new federal target. That target for Montana is to reduce Co2 emissions by 21 percent by the year 2030.

Kudos to Governor Bullock and the MT DEQ for their work on carbon pollution at power plants.

Cheri Trusler

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality was in Missoula Thursday night to talk about reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It was the last in a series of three public meetings around the state. The agency was explaining the options it’s come up with to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Montana, so the state can meet goals set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It was also taking public comments. Missoula resident Jan Holm said, "If we’re really serious about reducing pollution and addressing climate change, we have to stop burning coal."

Colstrip power plant, Colstrip Montana.
Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

Billings residents and Missoulians are next in line to weigh in on Montana's climate plan. Governor Steve Bullock asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to analyze potential ways the state can comply with E.P.A's proposed Clean Power Plan.

State regulators were in Colstrip yesterday, the heart of Montana coal country, for a public meeting on a draft rule limiting carbon pollution in Montana.

Montana Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown attended yesterday's meeting at Colstrip High School.

mt.gov

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced this week the first phase of the Clark Fork River cleanup near Warm Springs is mostly complete.

In this feature interview with Edward O'Brien, D-E-Q Director Tracy Stone-Manning, says this first of the 15-year project was a tremendous success.

January is radon awareness month.
    The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is encouraging Montanans to test for and - if necessary - address any radon issues.
     Radon is a colorless and odorless gas. Paul Tschida of D-E-Q's Energy and Pollution Bureau tells Edward O'Brien that radon exposure can present serious health issues:

DEQ closes own building for lead contamination

Oct 28, 2013
Montana DEQ Building
Dan Boyce

Nearly 100 Montana Department of Environmental Quality workers were sent home on paid leave Monday after inspections found elevated levels of lead in one of the department’s own buildings.

“The irony is not lost on us,” said DEQ Director Tracy Stone-Manning said regarding contaminants in Helena’s old armory at the north end of Last Chance Gulch, where DEQ now houses its division responsible for environmental cleanup.

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