Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Columbia Falls Aluminum
5:17 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Rising Energy Prices, Global Competition Led To Aluminum Smelter Closure

Columbia Falls Aluminum Plant
Credit Courtesy Columbia Falls Aluminum Company

To many Columbia Falls residents the full closure of the local aluminum smelter was more a matter of when than if.

That question was answered with certainty this week when Columbia Falls Aluminum Company announced that it's permanently shuttering the plant.

Local real estate agent Bill Dakin say this development was a long time coming.

"This announcement, finally, an honest announcement that this plant will never refine aluminum again, is kind of a new day here."

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2015 Legislature
5:05 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Senate: Public Needs More Info On Montana Pipelines

Yellowstone River oil spill cleanup.
Credit Courtesy Bridger Pipeline LLC

Senate Majority Leader Matt Rosendale of Glendive says the public should have more information about the pipelines that cross Montana’s navigable rivers. A unanimous Senate agrees.

Senator Matt Rosendale of Glendive says he wanted to find out more about pipelines after crude oil poured into the Yellowstone River last month. It was the second time this happened since 2011.

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2015 Legislature
12:10 am
Mon February 2, 2015

News Roundup, Week 4 At The Montana Legislature

Inside the Montana Capitol dome.
Credit William Marcus

In the middle of the fourth week of the 64th Montana Legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock took the rostrum in the House of Representatives with a big smile.

“The state of our state is strong,” Bullock said, beginning his State of the State address.

Bullock touted his fiscal discipline and pushed his big legislative priorities, getting multiple standing ovations from Democrats and occasional claps from a few Republicans.

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Gold Mine
6:43 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

DEQ Approves Permit For Gold Mine Near Butte

Butte Highlands mine.
Credit Courtesy Timberline Resources

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit for an underground gold mine south of Butte Monday.

The permitting process for the Butte Highlands Mine started in 2010, and Timberline Resources, the Idaho-based company behind it has already been exploring on the privately owned site.

Kristi Ponozzo with Montana DEQ says the mining permit "includes modifications to the proposed action...for mining. Under that alternative we are requiring additional water quality monitoring."

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Columbia Falls Smelter Clean Up
4:46 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Columbia Falls Aluminum Smelter Cleanup Hits A Snag

Credit Courtesy EPA

Efforts to clean up the shuttered Columbia Falls Aluminum Company smelter have hit a snag.

State and federal officials will brief the residents in Columbia Falls Thursday.

Montana’s Department of Environmental quality wanted to speed up the process that could qualify the closed smelter for federal “Superfund” cleanup money.

Before state inspectors could assess the problem in detail, the company would have to sign a consent decree, according to DEQ attorney William Kirley.

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Tracy Stone-Manning
4:40 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Gov. Names Tracy Stone-Manning Chief Of Staff

Governor Steve Bullock's longtime Chief of Staff is leaving and is being replaced by Tracy Stone-Manning, the current Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

Bullock's outgoing chief of staff, Tim Burton, is leaving to lead the Montana League of Cities and Towns; a nonprofit association of 129 Montana municipalities. Burton says Stone-Manning is an excellent choice.

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Berkeley Pit Landslides
5:32 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

EPA To Release Berkeley Pit Landslides Study

Montana Resources' Steve Walsh points out a feature of the Berkeley Pit to Butte Silver Bow County Commissioner Dan Foley last Thursday.

A new study on the probability of more landslides at the Berkeley Pit Superfund site in Butte will be made public soon.

Last week Silver Bow County commissioners got a tour of the Butte Superfund site, led by Steve Walsh, an executive with Montana Resources. That company is actively mining for copper and molybdenum at the Continental Pit in Butte, but has operations at Berkeley Pit as well.

From a point high on the Berkeley Pit’s rim, Walsh pointed out where the company used to be more active there until last year.

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Coal Town Wary Of More Regulation
4:28 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Chilly Reception For Montana Climate Plan In Colstrip

Credit Flicker User ambib (CC-BY-NC)

Billings residents and Missoulians are next in line to weigh in on Montana's climate plan. Governor Steve Bullock asked the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to analyze potential ways the state can comply with E.P.A's proposed Clean Power Plan.

State regulators were in Colstrip yesterday, the heart of Montana coal country, for a public meeting on a draft rule limiting carbon pollution in Montana.

Montana Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown attended yesterday's meeting at Colstrip High School.

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DEQ Closure
3:27 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

DEQ closes own building for lead contamination

The Department of Environmental Quality building at 1100 North Last Chance Gulch will be closed for an indeterminate amount of time after an examination found lead contamination.
Credit Dan Boyce

Nearly 100 Montana Department of Environmental Quality workers were sent home on paid leave Monday after inspections found elevated levels of lead in one of the department’s own buildings.

“The irony is not lost on us,” said DEQ Director Tracy Stone-Manning said regarding contaminants in Helena’s old armory at the north end of Last Chance Gulch, where DEQ now houses its division responsible for environmental cleanup.

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