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EPA announces cleanup of Montana Superfund site

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan speaks during a visit in June by Vice President Kamala Harris to the Community Empowerment Association in Pittsburgh to discuss the Biden Administration's investments to remove and replace lead pipes nationwide. The agency announced a multimillion-dollar cleanup of a superfund site in Montana. Photo by David Maxwell/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c03e1ac642b083014fd595557815d1cc/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan speaks during a visit in June by Vice President Kamala Harris to the Community Empowerment Association in Pittsburgh to discuss the Biden Administration's investments to remove and replace lead pipes nationwide. The agency announced a multimillion-dollar cleanup of a superfund site in Montana. Photo by David Maxwell/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Atlantic Richfield Company agreed Friday to complete its cleanup of the Anaconda Smelter Superfund Site in Montana, which has suffered from severe pollution and water contamination.

Atlantic Richfield, which is a subsidiary of British Petroleum, will finish remediating residential yards, clean up soil in upland areas above Anaconda, and effect the closure of slag piles at the superfund site, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement.

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The estimated cost of the site work is $83.1 million.

We are pleased that Atlantic Richfield has agreed to finalize its long-term cleanup of the Anaconda Site," said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, in a statement.

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"Today's consent decree follows other important settlements with Atlantic Richfield over the past two decades that have substantially improved the environment and restored valuable natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork basin."

Anaconda has suffered from decades of copper smelting that has polluted areas around the town. That pollution has contaminated creeks and other surface waters at the site. Smelter slag and hazardous rock tailings also still have to be secured.

"I was born in Anaconda the same year the smelter closed and while I never saw smoke coming out of the smokestack that still stands over Anaconda, I know what it represents," said U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich for the District of Montana.

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"It is a symbol representing the hard work of many Anacondans, including members of my family, that built our town, but it's also a symbol of a Superfund site that has existed for far too long. If the Smokestack represents our past, this consent decree represents our future."

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