About the Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP)
NRDP’s Mission: To recover damages for natural resources injured by the release of hazardous substances and to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources.
Created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB), the NRDP is a division of the Montana Department of Justice.
Since 1990, NRDP has been responsible for performing necessary natural resource damage assessments and pursuing lawsuits against responsible parties throughout Montana.
The state has settled its lawsuit with ARCO through a series of settlement agreements completed in 1999, 2005 and 2008. In addition, the state has completed settlements for: the Mike Horse Dam site in the headwaters of the Blackfoot River (2008), the East Helena Smelter site (2009), and the Exxon Silvertip oil spill on the Yellowstone River near Laurel (2016).
NRDP uses settlement monies to prepare and implement restoration plans. Several projects integrate restoration with remedial actions such as: Silver Bow Creek, Milltown Dam, the Clark Fork River, Anaconda Uplands, and the Mike Horse site. Other sites restoration plans are implemented separately: East Helena, Exxon/Silvertip Yellowstone and the aquatic, terrestrial, and groundwater plans for the UCFRB.
NRDP continues to pursue new natural resource damage claims at sites across Montana where a release of hazardous substances have injured the state’s natural resources.