The state seeks ideas about restoring Anaconda resources thrashed by smelter

A naïve newcomer to Anaconda remarked to a Smelter City native that it probably felt heartening to see vegetation returning to the hills behind the courthouse. The year was 1990.

The woman, usually soft spoken, responded with a burst of heat.

“I’d take the arsenic and the lead and all the rest if the smelter was operating and my kids could come home and get a job,” she said.

The Natural Resource Damage Program seeks input about how to spend up to $4 million to restore natural resources damaged by smelting. One option might be buying the A-Hill. 

Duncan Adams, The Montana Standard

The copper smelter closed in 1980. The focus since 1983 has been Superfund cleanup of the pollution wrought by emissions from the towering smelter stack and restoration of natural resources lost during a century of smelting.  

Restoration is meant to dovetail with or follow cleanup. That’s the Superfund process.

Now, the state’s Natural Resource Damage Program, which generally focuses on restoration and not remediation but also does both, wants residents of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County to help identify ways to spend

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