Thursday, February 2, 2023

Play

Palestinian advocates praise a new fact sheet on discrimination, Pennsylvania considers extending deadlines for abuse claims, and North Dakota's corporate farming debate affects landowners and tribes.

Play

Vice President Kamala Harris urges Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House begins the process to impeach the Homeland Security Secretary, and the Federal Reserve nudges interest rates up.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Tour of Former Mill Site Underscores Dangers for MT River

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
Protestors at the University of California-Berkeley demonstrate in support of student groups that passed a bylaw pledging not to invite pro-Zionist speakers. (Palestine Legal)

Social Issues

Groups fighting for Palestinian rights are praising a new fact sheet on religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for …


Social Issues

Lawmakers and immigrants-rights activists in the Commonwealth are hoping to pass the Language Access and Inclusion Act, which would dramatically …

Environment

New U.S. Department of Agriculture rules will target fraud and increase oversight of the $64 billion-a-year organic food industry. In Iowa, the …


While mortality rates for pregnant women have decreased globally, they continue to rise in the United States, with Black women three times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women. (Inez/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News …

Health and Wellness

With Black History Month underway, Wisconsin researchers and support groups are highlighting the disparities in cases of Alzheimer's disease…

Environment

Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage …

Social Issues

A measure in the Washington State Legislature would provide free school meals to K-12 students, but nutrition service workers are worried they are …

 

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