EPA and mining company pledge changes after grantee exposed cozy relationship

A view of the city of Butte, with the Berkley Pit in the background, from Montana Technological Universtity in Butte, Mont. (Erick Doxey for InvestigateWest)

story by Investigate West, supported by the Fund, exposed a cozy relationship between the federal Environmental Protection Agency and a mining company in Butte, Montana, that it was supposed to regulate. As a result of the reporting, the EPA announced several steps to increase transparency and engagement with the local community, including holding more public meetings, evaluating public health data to identify gaps and hiring a community coordinator in Montana. In addition, Montana Resources, which operates the mine in Butte, said last week that it will fund research on health impacts of the mine’s dust. Investigate West’s reporting showed that the EPA coordinated with Montana Resources to rebut independent, peer-reviewed research that suggested the mine may be causing a “potential public health emergency.”