ANACONDA – A consent decree has finally been reached after 30 years of coming up with a plan to clean up mine contamination around Anaconda.
“For that last week we were pretty much locked in a room all the parties involved together and said ‘come out when you reach a conclusion,” said Anaconda Chief Executive Bill Everett.
A general conclusion was reached in a consent decree between the US Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Montana, Anaconda and Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) on how to clean more than 9,000 acres of contamination left by the mining activities of ARCO.
“This is huge. A [consent decree] is something many Superfund sites will never reach because it is an agreement and a lot of times people can’t find that middle ground,” Everett said.
This consent decree has been three decades in the making, but Anacondans will still have to be left in the dark on some of the details, at least for now.
“This is not my decision, I wish it was. If so I’d try to release every detail I could, but we’ve been given very strict instructions that until we get the permission from the court system, we need to be very careful with what we do release,” Everett said.
EPA officials will be in Anaconda this week to release some details about the next steps in the cleanup. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Anaconda High School theater to discuss the consent decree.