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Butte commissioner wants to hire experts to review Superfund consent decree

Posted at 8:11 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 16:11:18-05

BUTTE - The final plan for the cleanup of mine waste in Butte is expected to be brought before the Council of Commissioners in the coming weeks.

Butte Commissioner Jim Fisher says the city should get experts to look at it before approving it.

“Let’s cross our T’s and dot our I’s, this is it. This is the final roll,” said Fisher, who represents District 6.

The consent decree is a cleanup plan for Butte that has been decades in the making through closed negotiations involving the EPA, the Atlantic Richfield Company and other agencies. The document is expectd to be more than 1,000 pages long.

“There’s a lot of information in it and I understand maybe the first few pages there’s going to be a lot of acronyms, and a lot of people can’t even spell acronym let along understand what they’re going to say,” said Fisher.

Fisher proposes hiring a legal firm with experience in environmental law to review the document before the council votes to approve it.

“Let’s face it, we don’t know what’s in the consent decree, we don’t know what agreements have been made, but when this is done and over Arco/BP is done, they’re off the hook,” said Fisher.

Once the consent decree is handed over to the Council of Commissioners, this will be the first time anyone outside the negotiators has got a chance to see the final cleanup plan.

“And there’s just a lot of things right now, you know, that aren’t resolved, but yet they want to send a consent to the 12 commissioners and say ‘sign here.’ I’m not sure I’m ready for that,” he said.

The decree should be sent to the commissioners by the end of this month or early February.