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Letter to Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator US Environmental Protection Agency Region 8


Location: Helena, MT

Letter to Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator US Environmental Protection Agency Region 8

November 24, 2009

Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator
US Environmental Protection Agency Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129

Re: NPL listing of the AMC Smelter and Refinery

Dear Ms. Rushin:

Historic refining waste on Atlantic Richfield Company's (ARCo) Anaconda Mineral Company (AMC) Smelter and Refinery properties and rail grade, as well as aerial deposition from smokestack emissions in the vicinity, have resulted in contamination of various properties in the community of Black Eagle. I appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to date to identify contamination and to determine whether contaminants are occurring at levels that create a long-term risk to human health and the environment.

These contaminated areas, collectively known as the AMC Smelter and Refinery site, and similar names, continue to pose a long-term risk to the health of Montanans in the area. There is widespread support from citizens in the community of Black Eagle, the county and the county Board of Health for listing of the site on EPA's National Priority List (NPL).

I believe it is imperative to address contamination that poses a risk to our citizens in a timely, coordinated, and cost-effective fashion. Therefore, I, too, support the listing of this site on the NPL. As Governor, I stress the importance of EPA addressing the concerns raised by Cascade County in its August 18, 2009, letter (attached) and to keep the community informed of your progress. In addition, I encourage you to address the concerns raised by the community of Black Eagle in the Black Eagle Civic Club letter of November 20, 2009, (attached), and to keep the residents informed of your plans and progress. In particular, I encourage you to ensure the responsible parties initiate investigation and cleanup on residential properties as expeditiously as possible in order to minimize exposure to the contaminants and reduce the disruption that cleanup activities generate to the residents.

On behalf of the state, I want to stress the need for comprehensive and thorol1gh identification of contaminated properties, including but not limited to the ARCo refinery properties and associated surface and ground waters affecting the Missouri River. I encourage EPA to ensure it utilizes contracting opportunities that maximize the potential for local employment in the cleanup process.

EPA must be committed to timely funding of cleanup-related activities for the whole site. As EPA and my Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) work through the activities necessary to clean up this site, we urge EPA to apply state cleanup levels to contaminants and to involve DEQ in the contractor selection and management process.

I have directed DEQ to provide assistance to the EPA in addressing community concerns. have also directed them to work in cooperation with EPA to conduct coordinated actions and to find a local repository site necessary to achieve cleanup of residential properties.

Please work with Richard Opper, Director of the Montana DEQ, and his staff to meet our common goals.


Brian Schweitzer

Cc: Cascade County Commissioners
Black Eagle Civic Group
Richard Opper, DEQ
Gwen Christiansen, EPA
Julie Dalsoglio, EPA

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