After Tester Push, EPA Agrees to $50,000 for Butte-Silverbow Creek Feasibility Study

Tester requested agency conduct study, increase community responsiveness

The Environmental Protection Agency today agreed to a request from U.S. Senator Jon Tester to do a $50,000 feasibility study of a potential upper Butte-Silverbow Creek as part of its cleanup plan for the Butte Priority Soils Operable Unit.

In May, Tester wrote to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler 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.

“EPA’s move is a step in the right direction to give much-needed certainty to the folks in the community who have been asking for answers for far too long,” Tester said. “I’m glad the agency agreed to my request, and I’ll keep pushing to ensure they honor their commitment to the people of Butte.”

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 in April, 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.

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 the EPA Administrator is available HERE.