Nora Saks

Nora Saks is a freelance radio and print journalist investigating themes of environmental justice in the Crown of the Continent and beyond.

She's currently a graduate student in the University of Montana's Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism Masters Program.

Having lived both north and south of the 49th parallel, she's inclined to use the term "bioregion" a little too frequently when describing her interest in exploring boundaries based on ecology rather than politics.

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.

Thursday night, state environmental regulators are holding a public input meeting in Butte on Montana Resource’s application to expand the tailings impoundment next to their active copper mine there.

Construction on a long-awaited water treatment facility that will pump and treat toxic water from the Berkeley Pit officially began Monday in Butte.

Over the weekend, the federal agency that investigates human health risks at Superfund sites offered free lead and arsenic testing in Anaconda. They collected blood and urine samples from two hundred willing locals. The tests will reveal if they’ve recently been exposed to dangerous amounts of heavy metals, and how.

The federal agency that investigates health risks at Superfund sites is in Anaconda this coming weekend offering free arsenic and lead testing to the first 200 people to sign up.

Results from this study could influence the final cleanup deal currently being negotiated for the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.

The latest fundraising reports say opponents of a ballot initiative aimed at protecting Montana waterways from mine pollution have raised about 25 percent more money than its supporters, despite not taking in any cash in August.

Billie Richardson is chatting with customers at Suited For Success, a small non-profit thrift store she runs in Uptown Butte. Richardson is 74 years-old. She was raised here, and for a while, moved around.

"I’ve lived a lot of places but I always come back because this is home," says Richardson. "Butte’s the last best place.”

The Chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be in Butte and Anaconda Friday, Senator Steve Daines announced Tuesday.  

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler will tour Superfund sites and meet with local leaders and community members in the Mining and Smelter cities.

On Thursday, August 30, about 60 people huddled around tables in the backroom of the Butte Brewing Company, not drinking, but pouring over maps of the Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors at the second in a series of community design workshops.

This week, locals in Butte will have another chance to help design what the major creek corridors in town will look like after the Superfund cleanup is over.

The Upper Silver Bow and Blacktail Creek corridors, which run through the center of Butte, will probably look a lot different about five years from now.

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