skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, September 30, 2023

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

Educators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'; NY appeals court denies delay for Trump civil fraud trial; Michigan coalition gets cash influx to improve childcare.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A House Committee begins its first hearing in the Biden impeachment inquiry, members of Congress talk about the looming budget deadline and energy officials testify about the Maui wildfires.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

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
Michigan is among 20 states to receive a multiyear grant from the Pritzker Children's Initiative. (SneakyPeakPoints/peopleimages.com/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…


Social Issues

play sound

Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…

Social Issues

play sound

The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …


Only 546 of the tenants in the the 5,563 eviction cases filed in Nebraska in the first half of 2023 were represented by legal counsel. (tab62/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …

Social Issues

play sound

As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …

Lewiston, Idaho, sits on the Snake River at the border with Washington. (Guy Sagi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …

Social Issues

play sound

Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …

Social Issues

play sound

A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …

 

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