MTPR

Montana Natural Resource Damage Program

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

Dalit Guscio holds a two-month old osprey chick and prepares to take blood and feather samples.
Maxine Speier / MTPR

It’s been a bad year for osprey after record flooding in some parts of Northwest Montana. That’s according to the scientists and educators with the Montana Osprey Project who have been studying osprey chicks in the Clark Fork watershed for more than a decade.

Governor Bullock shovels the first dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Parrot tailing removal project in Butte, June 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday morning, close to a hundred people gathered at an old ball field across from Butte’s Civic Center and circled around haul trucks and excavators fit for Paul Bunyan, if he was a miner, and not a lumberjack.

Both the crowd and the heavy machinery were there for the groundbreaking ceremony on the Parrot tailings removal project.

Six panelists and three moderators at Montana Tech for the KBMF public forum on Superfund. L-R: Mary Kay Craig, David Hutchins, Eric Hassler, Rayelynn Brandl, Robert Pal, Daniel Hogan, Olivia Everett, Leif Clark. (Not pictured: Pat Cunneen)
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

For decades now, Superfund meetings have been routine in Butte, but their highly technical nature can deter locals who want to stay informed and involved. In response, KBMF- Butte’s community radio station, hosted its first ever Superfund forum last Friday night.

Progress is being reported this week on a long-delayed effort to remove a 50-foot-deep pile of smelter waste in the middle of Butte.

The State of Montana has signed an agreement with Montana Resources that will allow for the removal of the Parrot tailings behind the Butte Civic Center:

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