DOJ: News Release

State Solicits Comments on Draft Upper Clark Fork Restoration Work Plan

HELENA  – The state is seeking public comment on draft funding recommendations for projects designed to restore the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Natural Resource Damage Program specialist Kathleen Coleman announced Wednesday.

The Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council has recommended that eight grant proposals receive funding totaling $9,626,245 for 2008 and $2,284,524 for 2009.

“In determining the draft funding recommendations, the Trustee Restoration Council voted to increase the 2007 grant funding limit from $8.5 million to $9.7 million in order to fund all eight proposals,” Coleman said.

Here’s a look at the proposals and the funding recommendations:

Project TRC Draft Funding Recommendations
2008 2009
Greenway $1,367,715 $743,479
Milltown Sediment Removal $1,253,285 $1,541,045
Thompson Park $988,402
Big Hole Waterline $1,644,722
Johnson/Cottonwood Creek $608,015
Anaconda Water Studies $107,771
Butte Waterline $2,417,003
Anaconda Waterline $1,239,332
Total Recommended Funding $9,626,245 $2,284,524

The 30-day public comment period on these recommendations, detailed in the Draft 2007 Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Work Plan, begins on September 5. The public may submit written comments or provide oral comments at the public hearing to be held at the Butte War Bonnet Hotel, 2100 Cornell, on September 26 at 7 p.m. Written comments may be sent to the Natural Resource Damage Program, P.O. Box 201425, Helena, MT 59620-1425, faxed to (406) 444-0236 or e-mailed to nrdp@mt.gov. The deadline for comments is October 5.

“It is important that the public have the opportunity to comment on these proposals and funding recommendations before the Governor makes his final decision,” Coleman said.

Based on the comments received over the next month, both the Advisory Council and Trustee Restoration Council will make final funding recommendations to Gov. Schweitzer. The governor is expected to make his funding decisions in December.

The state sued the Atlantic Richfield Co. in 1983 and settled several portions of the lawsuit in 1999, receiving $215 million. About $130 million is earmarked to restore or replace the injured natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown Dam near Missoula.

The Natural Resource Damage Program within the Montana Department of Justice administers the grant program. Program staff and the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Remediation and Restoration Education Advisory Council reviewed this year’s proposals and made recommendations to the Governor’s Trustee Restoration Council. That council –  made up of the governor’s chief of staff, the attorney general, the directors of the state’s three natural resource agencies and the chairman of the advisory council – approved the funding recommendations that are now subject to public comment. To date, the Governor has approved 64 projects for a total of $54 million.

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