BUTTE – Dozens of people gathered at the Montana Tech Library Auditorium Tuesday evening for a hearing and to provide public comment on the final plan to clean up mine waste on the Butte hill.
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency outlined some changes made in the Superfund consent decree that was reached between the Atlantic Richfield Co., Butte, and the state and other agencies.
Some in the public are not happy that the plan does not fully restore the portion of Silver Bow Creek that runs through the center of town.
“I believe this is a terrible decision. We need to make sure we have a creek flowing through this community. That’s what the people of this community have asked for, that’s what people in this community want, that’s what the people in this community deserve,” said Butte resident Fritz Daily.
While others applaud some of the progress made in the cleanup plan, they still voice concerns over how effective the restoration will be.
“What we’re saying is Butte’s water quality isn’t going to be significantly good enough to meet the standards that are set in Montana, so that’s a very key thing this community needs to be well aware of before we say, ‘Hey, it’s acceptable,’” said Northey Tretheway of Butte.
The EPA will review these public comments and hold one more public hearing next month before the consent decree is finalized before the end of this year.
“We deserve better, we deserve the best cleanup possible and not the cheapest,” said Daily.
There will be another public hearing May 23 at the Montana Tech Auditorium from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News