Montana officials vote to pursue Superfund cleanup agreement

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — County commissioners in Montana endorsed a plan for future mine pollution cleanup efforts and responsibilities at a Superfund site.

The Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners voted Wednesday to authorize Chief Executive Dave Palmer to forward a signed agreement to the U.S. Department of Justice and a federal judge for review, The Montana Standard reports.

The settlement, known as a consent decree, would require Atlantic Richfield Co. to spend more than $150 million on cleanup activities. The company is now a subsidiary of energy giant BP PLC.

Once the decree takes effect, new cleanup and enhancement efforts should begin that would ultimately have Butte Hill delisted as a Superfund site, county officials and several commissioners said.

The agreement outlines the work to be completed, including the removal of tons of mine waste along the Blacktail and Silver Bow Creeks corridor, capture and treatment of dirty storm water and groundwater and maintenance of environmental protections for Butte’s soil and water.

The federal review process includes a 30-day public comment period. The Environmental Protection Agency and justice department will then respond to the comments and a federal judge will decide whether to enact the plan, officials said.