MTPR

Environmental Protection Agency

Trump Administration Working To Roll-Back Water Pollution Regulations
(PD)

The Trump Administration is moving to roll back an Obama-era policy that was designed to protect over half the nation’s streams from pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday, outlined the process to unravel the 2015 rule defining which small waterways are covered under the Clean Water Act.

Representatives of state and federal environmental agencies will give an update on the polluted Smurfit-Stone mill near Frenchtown Tuesday, June 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the fire hall in Frenchtown.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief wants to prioritize and streamline the nation’s major Superfund cleanups. And that makes at least one watchdog organization nervous. EPA chief Scott Pruitt says America’s Superfund cleanups take too long to start and too long to finish.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected low levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.

In a statement, the EPA says it still has not determined the cause of the sheen that was first reported early last week and expects final, validated sampling results next week.

The sheen on Flathead Lake near Somers was first reported to the EPA earlier this week. Thursday, BNSF took steps to contain it. A BNSF representative told MTPR Thursday that early field indicators suggest the sheen comes from a natural organic source.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF Railway says that, as a precautionary measure, it has removed material from the shore of Flathead Lake near Somers that has a mysterious, oily sheen. The company thinks the sheen's origin is biological, not man-made.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF railway and the Environmental Protection Agency are both waiting on sampling results to determine the source of the unidentified sheen on Flathead Lake in Somers. They expect those results back by Monday.

Flathead Lake. Flathead County Commissioners are considering a proposal to regulate short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns.
William Neuheisel (CC-BY-2)

The Environmental Protection Agency and BNSF Railway are responding to an unidentified sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake. 

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls.
Nicky Ouellet

Shannon Stringer has an opinion that’s not entirely popular in Columbia Falls.

“I do. I've gotten into heated discussions with other people in the community, including fellow co-workers, that are totally opposite,” he said.

Stringer thinks it’s a good thing that the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company was listed as a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency last September.

Smurfit-Stone Container mill outside Frenchtown, Montana.
Djembayz (CC-BY-SA-3)

The EPA gave an update Tuesday on their ongoing investigation of pollution levels at the now-defunct Smurfit-Stone pulp and paper mill just west of Missoula.

There’s still a lot to figure out at the former Smurfit-Stone mill in Frenchtown.

The plant that operated on the 3,200 acre site for over 50 years just downstream of Missoula on the Clark Fork River used all kind of hazardous chemicals.

A smelter in Anaconda, Montana.
Keith Ewing (CC-BY-NC-2) / Flickr

Homeowners in Anaconda recently got a letter from ARCO offering them $1,000 if they promised not to sue over lead cleanup on their property. It did not go over well. David McCumber, the editor of the Montana Standard has the details.

The M-44 consists of a capsule holder, a cyanide capsule, a spring-activated ejector, and a stake.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Environmental and animal welfare groups are suing the federal government over its use of two widely used predator-killing poisons. Compound 1080 and M-44s, are effective tools to kill coyotes and other native carnivores.

Bethany Cotton says that’s part of the problem; they’re too effective:

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The company responsible for cleanup at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site released results of their site evaluation on Thursday. 

The evaluation confirms that groundwater beneath the former aluminum smelter facility has elevated levels of cyanide, fluoride and other contaminants, leached from legacy landfills used from 1955 until 1980. The studies also indicate that the contamination is not moving toward wells used for drinking water in nearby neighborhoods.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

There’s some good news in the latest sampling for contaminants at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site on the Flathead River. That’s according to Mike Cirian with the Environmental Protection Agency.

"There wasn’t anything out there that we didn’t expect, and there's no urgent or emergency type responses needed at this time," Cirian says.

Smurfit-Stone Container mill outside Frenchtown, Montana.
Djembayz (CC-BY-SA-3)

People concerned about the contaminated Smurfit-Stone paper mill site west of Missoula are meeting tonight in Frenchtown at 6:00 p.m. They're considering forming a Community Advisory Group to better communicate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The 3,200 acre Smurfit-Stone site was proposed for listing under the EPA's Superfund program in 2013 over concerns about soil and groundwater contamination.

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

Last week, a citizens' environmental group in Butte presented new findings on levels of heavy metals contamination in Silver Bow Creek. Nora Saks talks to David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard, about that study and about the Superfund clean-up going forward.

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber joins MTPR's Nora Saks to talk about his paper's reaction to President Trump's gag-order covering several federal agencies like EPA and USDA. McCumber talks about how his newspaper plans to hold government agencies accountable.

Libby superfund map.
US Environmental Protection Agency

People living in Libby and Troy have until the end of March to contact the Environmental Protection Agency to have their houses checked for asbestos contamination for free. The EPA issued a "last call" notice Monday.

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Mike Albans

As we recently reported, a big pile of old smelter waste in the middle of Butte is one step closer to being removed.

The state of Montana this month signed an agreement with mining company Montana Resources that could lead to the removal of the Parrot tailings; a 50-foot-deep-pile of tailings behind the Butte Civic Center. The Montana Standard reports the agreement is an important first step, but at least one major obstacle remains. David McCumber, editor of the Montana Standard joins us to explain:

Mark Thompson, environmental affairs manager for Montana Resources, standing above the Berkeley Pit.
Corin Cates-Carney

When 10,000 snow geese stopped to rest in Butte, in late November, the birds didn’t know they were landing in a toxic pit filled with acidic wastewater.

Hawk calls, intended to to scare away other birds, blare from speakers surrounding the pit.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.
Courtesy Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee

Government agencies that manage grizzly bears have been reviewing their bear spray recommendations. And they’ve agreed to a few clarifications. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) says bear spray is one of the best ways to prevent or end a bear attack.

The IGBC, however, stops short of making specific product endorsements in its educational materials.

 Ag. Group Says Trump Appointees Could Have 'Big Impact' On Farmers
(PD)

Montana grain growers should be keeping an eye on more than who President-elect Trump appoints as agriculture secretary. That’s what an industry expert told them at their conference in Great Falls Wednesday.

'Restore Our Creek' Unveils Vision For 'Headwaters Park' In Butte

Nov 7, 2016
Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Courtesy

A citizen's group in Butte Thursday presented a comprehensive, crowd-sourced vision for what they'd like to see happen in the contaminated corridor of Silver Bow Creek. MTPR's Nora Saks talks to Montana Standard Editor David McCumber to find out the details.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

A component of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that the agency says is optional is being attacked by 25 state attorneys general, including Montana’s. 

Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT
Flickr user Christopher (CC-BY-2.0)

On Monday night, the EPA presented its five-year review of the Superfund cleanup in Butte to a room full of frustrated residents and officials. David McCumber, editor of The Montana Standard talks to MTPR's Nora Saks about why the meeting got heated.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

Local businesses got an update today on the cleanup at the former Columbia Falls aluminum plant. The plant was listed as a superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency last month.

Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT
Flickr user Christopher (CC-BY-2.0)

The Montana Standard is suing to make Superfund negotiations in Butte public after they've been veiled in secrecy for 14 years. Nora Saks speaks with David McCumber, the editor of the newspaper, to find out more about their lawsuit and why the state pulled out of the clean-up settlement last week.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

Funding for a Libby asbestos program is now on hold while the federal government investigates allegations of misspent grant money.

Libby’s Asbestos Resource Program helps residents manage asbestos if they plan to disturb soil on their property. It’s funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Montana Standard Editor David McCumber.
Courtesy

Half a million gallons of flammable toxic sludge have been sitting just west of Butte since 1997. A multinational chemical company finally has the green light to clean up the site and mine the waste for profit. The Montana Standard has been covering the story. Nora Saks spoke with the paper’s editor David McCumber.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site in September 2016.
Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

The Environmental Protection Agency today designated the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company as an official Superfund site.

Swiss commodities firm Glencore announced the former smelter would be permanently shuttered back in the spring of 2015.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

Lincoln County may need to reimburse the Environmental Protection Agency for misspent grant money. The county gets a grant from the EPA to help reduce exposure to asbestos at Libby’s Superfund Site.

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