Probe of EPA employees’ alleged misconduct in Butte yields no call for action

DUNCAN ADAMS

Two publications featured articles earlier this year alleging misconduct by EPA employees responding to Butte-focused health research the employees did not like. The articles also referenced “regulatory capture.”

The phrase “regulatory capture” alleged EPA was working less for the public interest in recent years than for the industries the agency was supposed to be regulating in Butte.  

The articles described efforts by EPA employees in Butte and Denver to discredit, suppress or intimidate researchers whose work appeared to link serious health concerns in Butte to pollution from the city’s history of mining and smelting or from ongoing active mining by Montana Resources.

In response to the news coverage describing this conduct, EPA regional leadership in Denver said in June that the allegations were being taken seriously and had been referred for review to the EPA’s Office of Inspector General, described as being independent from the environmental regulatory agency.  

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The Anselmo Mine headframe and many like it in Butte provide a visual display of the history of the “Richest Hill on Earth.”

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