It appears the veil of secrecy is lifting from the Superfund process here in Butte. On May 17 th
the U.S. Department of Justice and the Atlantic Richfield Company filed a motion to formally
request a modification of the confidentiality order. And on May 22nd Judge Haddon agreed and
ordered the modification, effectively lifting the gag order that has kept many negotiations
This means a public roll out of the conceptual agreement can begin. The conceptual agreement
is the proposed remedy for the Butte Priority Soils Operable unit that has been reached by the
responsible parties and the regulatory agencies, but it has a way to go before it is implemented.
It will undergo an informal public comment process before it is drafted into an amendment to
the Record of Decision, and then a formal public input process will begin and the amendment
will be finalized. After that, the hope is that the public, the responsible parties, and the agencies
will all be satisfied and a Consent Decree will finally be signed.
This roll out began last week as the EPA released 14 documents outlining the plan. These
documents can be found at EPA.gov, or the complete link can be found in the transcript of this
story at butteamericaradio.org. The plan touches on a wide range of clean-up activities, from
the Parrot Tailings removal to issues with surface water. Future stories will examine these plans
and their implications in more detail, so stay tuned.
The parties involved plan to present the new information this week. They will hold two public
meetings on Wednesday, May 30 th at the Montana Tech Auditorium from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
and from 6:00-8:00 pm, to present a general overview of the parties’ proposals and the
procedural path forward. That path forward includes many opportunities for the community’s
participation. I had a chance to talk to Chris Wardell, the EPA Community Involvement
Coordinator for our area, about how folks can get involved. [interview with Chris Wardell]
And there you have it, listeners: there are many opportunities coming up to learn about the
plan and to have your questions and comments heard. If you can’t make it to one of the
presentations this week, tune in here on Wednesday at 6 pm for a live broadcast of the
meeting. I’m Dave Hutchins reporting for KBMF.
You can access all of the documents compiled into a single PDF on google Drive here.
This unofficial format allows for community comments, questions, and conversation within the pages of the document.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published information and documents pertaining to the proposed cleanup activities at the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit in Butte, MT
For more information you can contact Chris Wardell at 303-312-6062 or Wardell.firstname.lastname@example.org