After reporting on Superfund for several years, it’s obvious to me that everyone here wants the best possible cleanup for their town. And, there are very different definitions of what that means.
A lot of folks in Butte are fired up about bringing this stretch of long-dead creek back to life. And on the surface, I get it. Superfund is huge and complicated, full of thousands of pages of technical documents, and abstract legal requirements like water quality standards. Whereas a beautiful free flowing stream? That’s something tangible, easy to get jazzed up about.
But considering how far and wide the environmental damage from mining spread, how did re-creating one mile of skinny creek become the ruler by which Superfund is measured? And what can we discover about the cleanup from the drama over this little body of water?