MTPR

Montana Resources

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.

The Berkeley pit in Butte, Montana, as seen from above.
NASA (CC-BY-2)

The mining companies in charge of the Berkeley Pit are going to start pumping, treating and discharging the water in the former open pit copper mine into Silver Bow Creek five years earlier than planned. Susan Dunlap is reporting that story for the Montana Standard in Butte. She spoke to MTPR's Nora Saks.

The Vortex Ring Avian Deterrent shoots a 200 mph blast of air to keep birds away from the toxic Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks

High above the Berkeley Pit, Butte’s famous copper mine turned toxic lake, a mini drone swoops and soars, then catches a thermal and floats. With its dark wings and yellow beak, it could easily be mistaken for a bird of prey. Just a few minutes after take off, it is.

“Oh, here comes somebody … bald eagle …"

Olga Kreimer

On a sunny Saturday, while thousands were marching for science around the world, about 50 people gathered inside the Knights of Columbus Hall in Butte for a different kind of Earth Day celebration.

It was what 74-year-old Mary Kay Craig was calling a Butte-style wake.

“Well I’m Irish, so what am I supposed to say?” she asked.

Craig is with the Citizens for Labor and Environmental Justice and she organized the event, called Hope for Snow Geese.

Berkeley Pit bird cannon, Butte, MT
Mark Thompson/Montana Resources

The people who manage the Berkeley Pit want to use lasers and cannons to try to save lives of migratory birds. Thousands of geese were killed last fall in the poisonous water of Butte’s Berkeley Pit. It was an environmental catastrophe that Mark Thompson hopes is never repeated.

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