Tester Stands Up for Powell County as D.C.’s Incompetence Wastes Taxpayer Money

Senator: Federal Government Cannot Burden Rural Counties

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is standing up for Powell County after the U.S. Treasury Department sent them a $4 million bill.

The federal government is charging Powell County for pollution in Tin Cup Joe Creek, a tributary of the Clark Fork River.

“The federal government cannot, in good conscience, place this burden on a rural county that tried to do the right thing,” Tester said in a letter to Director William Grawe of the National Pollution Funds Center. “This is unacceptable and must be remedied immediately.”

In 2011, the EPA and Powell County came to an agreement to remove an underground storage tank, which was leaking fuel into Tin Cup Joe Creek. The Coast Guard was also involved because the pollution was impacting groundwater.

When cleanup costs exceed $500,000 the case is supposed to be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice, but due to a clerical error by the federal government, the Justice Department never made a decision or acknowledged the referral.

“This bureaucratic snafu threatens Powell County’s funding for schools, hospitals, and roads. I will fight tooth and nail to guarantee folks in Deer Lodge and Ovando don’t pay the price for Washington’s mistakes,” Tester continued.

Powell County is now facing a $4 million fine, which puts local taxpayers on the hook. Tester is asking the Coast Guard to remedy the situation and ensure that none of Powell County’s federal funds are withheld in the process.

Tester’s letter to Grawe can be read HERE.