The Genesis of Remediation and Restoration of ACM Damages

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Over the last 25 years, somewhere in the range of a billion dollars has been spent under Superfund remediation and restoration efforts related to the environmental health and natural resource damage resulting from the historic copper mining and smelting activities of the former Anaconda Copper Mining Company (ACM). Most of those resources came from major oil companies Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) and British Petroleum (BP), which acquired ARCO. These dollars are a result of the requirements of the federal (and state) laws. What is the history behind the acquisitions of ACM’s Montana mining/smelting activities by BP/ARCO? How did they handle those responsibilities before the Superfund? How did the Superfund come to exist? How did Montana’s Natural Resource Damage program evolve under Superfund? This history and issues surrounding it are discussed by Evan Barrett, who has been active as both a Butte economic development leader and as a state and federal governmental official dealing with these important programs from a policy level.

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Evan Barrett, a Red Lodge native who has lived in Butte for 38 years, retired in January 2017 after working since 1969 at the top level of Montana government, politics, economic development & education, including working with Governors Forrest Anderson, Tom Judge & Brian Schweitzer, Congressman Pat Williams & Senator John Melcher as well as with the Montana and National Democratic Parties. Evan spent 4 years at Highlands College and Montana Tech starting in 2013, where he taught, produced a 43-hour award-winning Montana history film series, and was a regularly published newspaper columnist and radio commentator.