This letter follows a sequence of letters in The Montana Standard, beginning with one by Dr. John Ray, followed by a response from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Montana Office Director, Julie DalSoglio, which describes the cleanup work accomplished to date and ongoing in Butte, a letter by Dr. Holly Peterson, a follow-up by Dr. Ray, and a letter by Ronald Chatriand.
As described in EPA’s comments, the extensive data collected shows that the remedies being implemented are protective of human health and the environment. The current remediation program is supported by a detailed site investigation and some of the best scientific studies available at any Superfund site in the U.S.
We recognize that Dr. Peterson was on the committee that reviewed the dissertation that is referenced in Dr. Ray’s letters.
Atlantic Richfield welcomes public discussion of the issues, and the public’s involvement, based on sound science and facts.
We believe EPA’s editorial provides a fair and objective overview of the remediation to date.
The dissertation addresses many topics, some of which involve data analyses that have not received external peer review by experts in these fields. The peer review process is normal protocol for this type of research and is conducted before the research and analysis are relied upon for scientific purposes, including its use in Superfund work.
Following external peer review, we and others will be in a better position to comment on the conclusions stated in the dissertation with regard to the remediation program in Butte.
Substantial progress has been made and continues to be made on the area’s Superfund sites. Extensive remediation activity has reduced the potential for exposure to contaminants.
These clean-up activities are being performed diligently by many local citizens representing the responsible parties, Butte Silver Bow (BSB), the State of Montana and the U. S. EPA.
The process of developing future health studies will include public participation, and will be conducted by BSB, with collaboration from other responsible parties and oversight agencies.
Based on sound science, current cleanup levels are protective of the health of Butte residents, and the ongoing Residential Metals Abatement Program is working to verify the protectiveness of the remedies.
Many local residents and leaders have contributed and will continue to be involved in these efforts.
We will continue to communicate, and encourage members of the community to participate in the ongoing dialogue grounded in sound science.
— Lorri Birkenbuel is deputy operations manager for the Atlantic Richfield Company and Cord Harris is manager of life cycle management for the company.