skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Tour of Former Mill Site Underscores Dangers for MT River

play audio
Play

Monday, November 21, 2022   

Community members and conservation groups recently toured a former paper mill because of urgent concerns that the site poses a threat to a nearby Montana river.

The Smurfit-Stone Mill near Missoula operated from 1957 to 2010, leaving behind pollutants that continue to leak into the nearby Clark Fork River.

In 2020, the state expanded a fish consumption advisory to a 100 mile stretch on the river.

Elena Evans, environmental health manager for the Missoula City County Health Department, was part of last week's tour.

She said berms separate industrial waste from the Clark Fork over a four mile stretch and cover 380 acres of the river's floodplain.

"The berms cause concern for folks downstream," said Evans, "leaving unlined dumps and landfills and sludge ponds that are impacting our EPA-designated sole source aquifer, and so that's why we had a tour."

Evans said the site also is an issue for Missoula's drinking water.

She said she hopes that by voicing their concerns during the US Environmental Protection Agency's investigation phase of the Superfund site, officials will incorporate the outcomes the community is looking for - such as restoring the Clark Fork floodplain.

In 2018, higher-than-average spring runoff caused part of the berms to erode and released toxic waste into the river.

Julia Crocker, community programs coordinator with the Clark Fork Coalition, was also part of last week's tour.

She said there's anxiety over what an even larger event could do to the waste stored behind those berms.

"As we've seen these large floods happen more and more frequently due to the changing climate," said Crocker, "there's a possibility that if we were to have an episode that happened on Yellowstone here, all of that would get pushed into the Clark Fork."

David Brooks is the executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited and was on last week's tour as well.

His organization is part of a study that will start in 2023 and look at fish and water quality near the former mill to determine the scope and scale of contaminants on the river.

Brooks said this is a critical issue for Montanans.

"People recreate in the river," said Brooks. "People eat fish out of the river. And so even absent a catastrophic event, this is a long term concern for water quality, fish and people."

The effect of toxins in the area also is a concern for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, whose ancestral land lies within the 100-mile fish consumption advisory area.

Tribal members rely on subsistence fishing and have been leading efforts for a proper cleanup of the former mill site.




get more stories like this via email
more stories
The wells providing water on Santee Tribal lands had manganese levels more than 50 times greater than what is considered safe for adults. Excessively high manganese can cause problems with memory, attention and motor skills. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Members of the Nebraska Santee Sioux Tribe hope a solution to their five-year water ordeal may be on the way. Their tap water has been unusable for …


play sound

Hurricane season is here, and conservationists are shining a light on the role salt marshes play in protecting coastal North Carolina communities…

Social Issues

play sound

This weekend, Father's Day will be tough for children with a dad in jail or prison. More than 200,000 kids in Michigan have had an incarcerated …


Social Issues

play sound

Local election administrators have new guidance from Wisconsin's highest court on alternative early voting sites. A political expert says the timing …

Between 2017 and 2022, Minnesota saw a more than 30% increase in farm acres planted with cover crops. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

When Minnesota farmers watch their crops grow this summer, some will monitor land that has better soil health. It's because of a fairly popular …

Environment

play sound

Close to 200 events are planned now through Sunday at California state parks for the third annual State Parks Week. The events advance Gov. Gavin …

Environment

play sound

As New York and New Jersey transition to electric vehicles, consumers have mixed feelings about it. Polls show fewer than half of New York drivers …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021