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Butte cleanup meeting spiked

abb calls off session because of legality
2012-04-12T00:00:00Z Butte cleanup meeting spikedBy Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard

More than 50 people showed up Wednesday to hear the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s response to a recent report showing that Butte residents are prone to higher rates of disease because of pollutants.

But Paul Babb, Butte-Silver Bow chief executive, called off the meeting with EPA officials, ARCO and local government leaders because it hadn’t been legally noticed as a public hearing.

“I don’t want to be in violation of the open meeting laws,” he said. “We need to make sure that the public knows about the meeting and that the public can give comments.”

The meeting was scheduled as an information session with the EPA, ARCO, local government and the public. It was prompted by a doctoral dissertation written by Stacie Barry, Energy Services operations director at the National Center for Appropriate Technology, who earned her doctorate degree at the University of Montana.

Her study looked at the causes of death in Butte from 1978 to 2006 and found that people in Butte are prone to higher rates of cancer and other diseases.

It has caused some Butte residents to question how effective EPA’s cleanup of the mining pollutants has been.

Julie DalSoglio, EPA Montana director, defended the agency’s efforts in a recent editorial in The Montana Standard. She said at the brief meeting that the agency will be bringing a federal doctor who specializes in environmental health to address the concerns about pollutants in Butte.

But several people who attended the scheduled meeting questioned why it didn’t go forward.

John Ray, a Tech professor and member of the Citizens Technical Environmental Committee, said without any specific proposal there was no reason to delay the meeting. And he said the large turnout shows that

people in Butte are concerned with the EPA’s cleanup of the area.

“If it’s simply an informational meeting and you have public interest, why close it?” he said. “If your case is sound, you shouldn’t be afraid of presenting it to the public.”

Babb said a makeup meeting will be announced and held soon.

— Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at

(3) Comments

  1. Comparadun
    Report Abuse
    Comparadun - April 14, 2012 8:00 am
    “We need to make sure that the public knows about the meeting and that the public can give comments.”

    Uh okay, 50 people show up, and the public somehow did not know? The issues in this, have been in discussion for years. Where was Mr. Babb all that time? Now suddenly, when he is running for re-election, oh hey, let’s have a public meeting with the EPA about it! Right. Nice ploy to make it look like he is actually engaged in the issues. Unfortunately, that really did not pan out so well huh Paul?

    What’s next on the re-election agenda—meeting on the Post Office closure again—meeting on the airport? How bout a meeting on what ever happened to the wind turbine plant Paul? How bout a meeting on the road plan? How bout a meeting on why water rates suddenly had to jump? Yeah, right.
  2. peace4ever
    Report Abuse
    peace4ever - April 12, 2012 6:39 pm
    Oh, great glory! The EPA is bringing a "federal doctor" to tell the Butte folks the illness is "all in the head" and that because there are no current disease clusters, there is nothing to fear or be concerned about. They'd rather argue that the illness isn't related to pollution, and they will design their so-called research to prove this "fact."
  3. acommoner
    Report Abuse
    acommoner - April 12, 2012 9:34 am
    Not until Montana Resources is invited to the table will we have a meaningful conversation relative to the Environmental Health and Well Being of the people of Butte and Silver Bow.

    Not until The People of the City of Butte and of Silver Bow County are willing to form Neighborhood Community Alliances, by Commissioner District, to work with their respective Commissioner to seek common solution to common concerns, and those Neighborhood Community Alliances form a Greater Butte Silver Bow Neighborhoods Community Alliance to work with our B-SB City County Government to seek a coalescence (growing together) of the Community Will, will there be real progress made in improving the Environmental Health and Well Being of The People of Butte and Silver Bow.
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