The Citizens’ Technical Environmental Committee (CTEC) is a group of volunteer citizens who work with the EPA, the state of Montana, responsible parties, and others to make the Superfund process and cleanup decisions in the Butte and Clark Fork Basin area of Montana understandable to everyone.
Our specific charge from the EPA is to hire independent scientific experts to review documents and provide public outreach and education on behalf of the local community. CTEC also provides access to government studies, BP-ARCO studies, and other studies about contaminants in the surface water, ground water, and air, and promotes public involvement in the Superfund process. CTEC informs local citizens about cleanup options, meetings, and how to contact those influential in choosing a course of action.
CTEC also prepares technical comments on the Superfund process. These technical comments are designed to provide decision-makers with an independent perspective on current Superfund activities. EPA established technical committees through grants under Superfund to provide technical assistance to local communities in and around Superfund sites. The more than 300 CTEC members make up a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life.
The easiest way to understand the role of a technical assistance committee in Superfund is to think of a triangle with a represented party at each point. In the instance of the Clark Fork Superfund process, the EPA and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) represent the federal and state governments, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) represent their own and investors interests, and CTEC represents the interests of the local community. The goal is for all three parties – U.S. citizens at large (EPA), the PRP group, and the local citizens – to have input into the EPA’s final cleanup decision.
CTEC reviews of science and public information are funded by the Technical Assistance Grant program. This program was created by the federal government in 1986 to help promote local public involvement in the Superfund process. Through this program, CTEC is allowed to apply for grants. Grants are funded through the EPA by the party responsible for the site, in this instance, BP-ARCO.
CTEC operates separately from BP-ARCO or the EPA and serves as an independent group of citizens working for local residents, ensuring that the communities most affected by the EPA’s decisions have access to objective information. CTEC presents this information so that basin residents can reach informed opinions and make those opinions known. In addition, CTEC has and will continue to, in cases where appropriate, question or criticize the methods, findings and conclusions of BP-ARCO and/or the EPA.
CTEC has been working on the Butte area Superfund process for more than 10 years. CTEC consultants have reviewed literally hundreds of thousands of pages of scientific data from a variety of sources, including BP-ARCO, the EPA, environmental groups, and independent scientists, and condensed them into our comments. Our public information efforts include public meetings when scheduled, this website, and awareness advertising.
If you have questions regarding CTEC’s role, or you would like to comment directly to us, please attend one of our meetings or contact us. All meetings are open to the public, and we are always happy to answer your questions.