10.13.21

Daines Calls for Open Communication After Groundwater Plume Detected under Butte HS

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines is calling for transparency for the Butte community after the community was alerted to a groundwater plume below Butte High School more than 10 years after it was first discovered.

“I urge all agencies, especially EPA, to be transparent with the Butte-Silver Bow community as this situation develops. The community deserves open public meetings as studies are being conducted and timely updates on the findings. Going forward, I am calling for regular communication and updates on information learned about potential public health risks in the area, including posting the last seven EPA recorded virtual community meetings online for public transparency. I will continue working in the coming weeks with various agencies to make sure that a comprehensive cleanup is being accomplished for the people of Butte-Silver Bow,” Daines said.

This is part of Daines’ efforts to achieve a complete and comprehensive cleanup of Butte-Silver Bow.

 

Background:

On May 21st 2020, Daines applauded passage of the historic Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit (BPSOU) Consent Decree, which presented a clear path forward to the final delisting of this Superfund site, closing this chapter of Butte’s history and spurring future economic growth.

On May 11th, 2020, Daines held a conference call with EPA Deputy Director Doug Benevento and EPA Region 8 Administrator 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 regarding a comprehensive cleanup of Silver Bow Creek 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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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler