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Butte Cleanup Deal Delayed As EPA Responds To Public Comment

Those awaiting the final Superfund cleanup deal, or consent decree, for the Butte Hill and urban Silver Bow Creek corridor are going to have to wait a little longer.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the parties negotiating the legally binding cleanup agreement, which include EPA, the state, the county, and Atlantic Richfield, have agreed to a second 30-day extension to finish hammering out the details.

EPA says the parties are making progress, but the agency needs more time to respond to public comments on proposed changes to the cleanup plan. Those changes are the backbone of the deal to assign final financial responsibility for the cleanup. The extension also gives a local advocacy group more time to study whether their vision of a free flowing Upper Silver Bow Creek is compatible with the new cleanup plan on the table.

The Superfund parties now have until October 11 to finalize the agreement, and it will take several more weeks to get it signed and lodged in U.S. district court.

Listen: 'Richest Hill' A Podcast About The Past, Present And Future Of Butte America

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