Butte

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday unveiled a final cleanup deal for Butte, marking a crucial turning point in the decades-long Superfund saga of Montana’s Mining City.

More than a century of copper mining in Butte helped electrify America and win both world wars. But, it also left behind a huge toxic mess that earned the city a Superfund site designation in the 1980s.

This season on Richest Hill you’ve been hearing all about what mining meant for Butte, the toxic legacy it left behind, and about sprawling efforts to clean it up that have spanned more than 30 years.

And this week, something big is gonna happen.

A fire broke out early Thursday morning in Uptown Butte, gutting a historic building and ravaging several businesses. 

A new study says it’s possible to rebuild a creek — destroyed by decades of mining — that once flowed through Butte. But it won’t be easy and it won’t come cheap.

A lavander field.
osde8info / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Federal crop insurance is a safety net for many farmers and rural communities but it typically favors the big commodities like corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton. A few years ago, a new type of insurance emerged to cover everything grown or raised on a farm under one umbrella, even specialty crops like hemp and lavender that don’t have their own policies. It’s been slow to catch on but a few modifications may entice more farmers to get on board in 2020. 

This week, the parties in charge of the Superfund cleanup of the Butte Hill and urban creek corridors agreed on a final cleanup deal, marking a turning point in the Mining City’s decades long Superfund saga.

For the first time ever, once-toxic water from the Berkeley Pit, Butte’s abandoned open pit copper mine, is being pumped, treated and discharged into Silver Bow Creek.

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.

Today is the day when a milestone in Butte’s Superfund cleanup was supposed to have been reached: a final Superfund deal for the Butte Hill. Now the parties negotiating that agreement say they need a little more time. 

On his last day on the job, former EPA Regional boss Doug Benevento told the parties hashing out the deal that they had until August 12 to get it done.

The 2018 Infrastructure Report Card says Montana will need $1.15 billion to address immediate water needs over the next 20 years.
Joe Shlabotnik/FLICKR (CC-by-2.0)

Fourteen Montana communities will receive a total of $6.5 million of federal funds this year for local infrastructure, housing development and job creation projects. That’s almost a million dollars over last year.

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