Tester Calls for New Regional EPA Administrator to Hold Public Listening Sessions in Montana Next Week

Senator: Montana Has Too Often Slipped Off the EPA’s Radar

(Big Sandy, Mont.)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on the new Regional Administrator of the EPA to hold public listening sessions while in Montana next week.

Tester is urging Region 8 Administrator Doug Benevento to meet with Montanans in Butte, Anaconda, Libby, and Columbia Falls to discuss the EPA’s progress and address the distrust of the agency in these communities. In a letter to Benevento, Tester emphasized the importance of meeting with Montanans and unscored the need to fully hold corporations accountable for cleanup.

“It is critical that you gain firsthand knowledge of the unique challenges within each community so you can address them immediately,” Tester said. “Montana has too often slipped off your Agency’s radar, leaving Montanans to clean up the messes of big corporations. By visiting our state, you will see the resilience of our communities and the urgent need to defend our clean air and water, which are the backbone of our state’s economy.”

Tester is demanding that Benevento move quicker to test lead levels in schools, increase transparency in consent decree negotiations, and strengthen public involvement in the EPA’s actions in Butte and Anaconda.

Tester is also emphasizing that the EPA must do more work in Libby as a result of pollution from vermiculite mines operated by W.R. Grace. Tester is calling on Benevento to sit down with families in Libby and do more to ensure W.R. Grace is held accountable for the full cost of the cleanup.

Tester also told Benevento in the letter that Glencore has misled the community of Columbia Falls regarding the cleanup of the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company site, which was listed as a Superfund site last year. Tester is encouraging Benevento to meet with Columbia Falls leaders about the cleanup of the industrial site along the Flathead River.

Region 8 of the EPA consists of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Tester’s letter to Benevento is available HERE.