Advocates for ‘transparency’ call on EPA to step up

Butte resident Evan Barrett, a longtime watchdog of regional Superfund cleanup, grew weary of hearing about key meetings from which the public was excluded.

Barrett and others have described these meetings as secret.

He asked EPA to live up to its much ballyhooed commitment to transparency. He won the backing of local government and two state agencies.

Barrett’s frustration peaked after the EPA raised the prospect of Atlantic Richfield contractors using partially contaminated soils instead of clean fill during remediation of some sites in the so-called Silver Bow Corridor.

Related deliberations “seemed to be moving forward behind a curtain,” he said.

Barrett and other skeptics referred to this fill material, known more formally as “onsite material” or “grey dirt,” as “dirty dirt.” Such material refers to onsite soil at project sites that has lower metals content than soils considered contaminated wastes requiring removal and deposit in a repository.

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Evan Barrett stands near the Mountain Con Mine on Wednesday in Butte. Barrett is a longtime watchdog of the mining-and-smelting related Superfund remediation underway in Butte and wants federal officials

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