DOJ: News Release

Comments Solicited on Butte Area One Draft Restoration Process Planning Document

BUTTE – The Butte Natural Resource Damage Council is seeking public input on a draft process plan that will provide the procedures, criteria, and schedule the Council will follow in advancing their recommendations to the Governor for restoration of the Butte Area One site.

The Area One site is generally located in the Silver Bow Creek headwaters between Texas Avenue and the I-90 Bridge. The Butte Area One Draft Restoration Process Planning Document lays the groundwork for a subsequent restoration plan to be developed by the Council for approval by the Governor.

“The process planning document lays out the ground rules for project selection, but this council wanted it to also reflect our local goals and values,” said Elizabeth Erickson, Chair of the Butte Natural Resource Damage Council. “Therefore, we crafted a set of guiding principles; one of which is to provide the public with a strong voice in the development of this plan. We invite the public to review this document and provide any suggestions for its improvement.”

Copies of the plan can be found on NRDP’s website or obtained by calling the Butte NRDP Office at 533-6882. Written comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m on July 1, 2011 and can be sent to Pat Cunneen at 65 East Broadway, Butte, Montana 59701 or emailed to nrdp@mt.gov.

In early 2010, Governor Brian Schweitzer and Butte-Silver Bow County Chief Executive Paul Babb appointed nine members to the newly created Butte Natural Resource Damage Restoration Council (BNRC). Council members are Elizabeth Erickson, Larry Curran, Steve Gallus, Mark Golllinger, Ruth Lee, John McKee, Chad Okrusch, Emmett Riordan and David Schultz.

The BNRC is charged with developing a plan for the expenditure of the $28.1 million natural resource damage settlement, plus interest, on the restoration or replacement of the injured groundwater and surface water resources of Butte Area One. The Council began meeting monthly in April 2010, with their initial meetings focused on gaining knowledge about the Butte Area One injured site and restoration alternatives.

Following consideration of public comment on the draft process plan, the BNRC will propose a final process plan to the Governor for approval. The draft process plan outlines the steps the BNRC, with assistance from the Natural Resource Damage Program, would take this year and next in developing a proposed restoration plan.

“The BNRC has worked hard to learn and understand restoration issues,” noted Pat Cunneen, Butte project manager for the NRDP. “They have done a fine job drafting this document.”

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