Tester Fights to Include Silver Bow Creek in Butte Superfund Cleanup Plan

Senator to EPA Administrator: “I am concerned that widespread community support for a restored upper Silver Bow Creek is falling on deaf ears”

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing back on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for resisting local demands to include the restoration of upper Silver Bow Creek in its Superfund Cleanup Site action plan.

“I am concerned that widespread community support for a restored upper Silver Bow Creek is falling on deaf ears,” said Tester in letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Restore Our Creek Coalition is steadfast and clear in its desire to see a restored Silver Bow Creek as part of a cleanup plan…[and] over 3,500 local people have signed a petition supporting that vision. Community support and EPA’s prior commitment are clear. The EPA needs to be more responsive to the community, and to the maximum extent it legally can, it needs to disclose the details of its cleanup plans.”

The Restore Our Creek Coalition has been leading the charge to include upper Silver Bow Creek in the EPA’s action plan, circulating a petition that garnered more than 3,500 signatures and corresponding directly with the Agency about this issue. In January, the EPA told local residents that a restored creek wouldn’t be excluded from EPA’s cleanup plans. But last month, the EPA sent a letter to the Coalition backtracking on its previous commitment to restore Silver Bow Creek and suggesting the Coalition consider paying for the restoration itself.

“I am troubled by a letter sent from EPA to the community indicating that the EPA would not pursue even a basic engineering analysis to determine if stream restoration is feasible,” Tester told Wheeler. “The additional suggestion that the community pay for the creek restoration itself is wildly off-base, given EPA’s commitments to taking community input on what cleanup and restoration actions are appropriate for the site.”

Tester is now demanding that the EPA respond to the community’s input and do an engineering analysis of the site. He also criticized the Agency’s lack of transparency throughout the cleanup process, strongly urging Wheeler to make more information available to the public.

Tester has waged a relentless campaign to clean up Montana’s 17 Superfund sites, including Butte, Anaconda, Columbia Falls, Libby and Troy. Tester was instrumental in getting Butte on the EPA’s Superfund Site shortlist for immediate, intense action last April and recently hammered Wheeler on the Administration’s attempt to cut more than $100 million in Superfund funding next year.

Tester’s letter to EPA Administrator is available HERE.