05.21.20

Daines Announces Passage of Consent Decree for Superfund Cleanup of Butte Priority Soils

Passage follows years of Daines’ work to move critical cleanup forward and continued action for a clean Silver Bow Creek.

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines applauded last night’s passage of the historic Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) Consent Decree. This historic agreement presents a clear path forward to the final delisting of this Superfund site, closing this chapter of Butte’s history and spurring future economic growth. 

“The Butte Superfund Site has languished for decades while the people of Butte have waited for comprehensive cleanup. It is due time this restoration gets done,” Daines said. “With today’s consent decree vote, we are one step closer to final clean-up and the ultimate delisting of this site. I will continue working with all stakeholders on a concurrent path forward for a restored Silver Bow Creek. This community deserves nothing less.”

Background:

Daines has been very involved in the efforts regarding Butte’s Superfund sites and Silver Bow Creek. 

On May 11th, 2020, Daines held a conference call with EPA Deputy Director Doug Benevento and EPA Region 8 Administration Greg Sopkin about Silver Bow Creek. Daines called on their help to bring about a resolution regarding the cleanup of the upper corridor.  EPA officials agreed to play an advisory role and to contact ARCO and state officials to help facilitate discussions.

On May 6th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to Governor Bullock urging the State to sit down with ARCO and Butte Silver-Bow officials to come up with a path forward for a restored Silver Bow Creek. 

On May 5th, 2020, Daines’ staff held a conference call with ARCO officials to discuss the proposed consent decree and Silver Bow Creek. They expressed an openness to future conversations should the State of Montana choose to pursue.

On May 4th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to the EPA asking for clarity on the future of re-development of Silver Bow Creek.

In September of 2019, Daines announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intended to award a $50,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study of a complete and restored Silver Bow Creek. The news followed Daines’ request on behalf of the local Restore Our Creek Coalition, to find a concrete path forward for restoration.

More than 3500 Butte citizens signed a petition requesting the restoration. In May of 2019, Daines sent a letter supporting their efforts, urging all responsible parties to find a concrete path forward to restore Silver Bow Creek. 

In early April of 2019, Daines pressed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler at a U.S. Senate Hearing on the need to finalize restoration and cleanup at Montana’s Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda Smelter Co. Superfund Sites.

In April of 2019, Daines questioned EPA Director Wheeler about Silver Bow Creek and the consent decree during an U.S. Senate Appropriation subcommittee hearing regarding EPA budget.

In September 2018, Daines brought Wheeler to Butte and Anaconda to discuss finalizing cleanup efforts with local, state, federal and community leaders.

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