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August 22, 2012

Public Comment Sought on Butte, Anaconda Groundwater Restoration Plans

The State of Montana’s Natural Resource Damage Program is seeking comments on two Groundwater Restoration Plans submitted by Butte-Silver Bow and Anaconda-Deer Lodge counties.  These plans were submitted as part of the state’s process to allocate dollars received through a series of settlements in Montana’s natural resource damage lawsuit with Atlantic Richfield Company.

An estimated $28.2 million is available for funding water system improvements in Butte-Silver Bow County and $9.4 million is available for Anaconda-Deer Lodge. The dollars are part of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin Restoration Fund and are for funding water system improvement projects. These system improvements constitute replacement of lost groundwater resources in the area.  The counties developed their draft Groundwater Restoration Plans, which describe the water system improvement projects they propose to implement with this available funding in the next four years.

These plans are available for public comment through September 21, 2012.  Copies of the plans are available on the NRDP website at /lands/notices-of-public-comment/ or by contacting NRDP at 444-0205.  Comments can be submitted to NRDP at; by fax at 406 444-0236; or mailed to PO Box 201425, Helena, MT  59620.

Additional settlement funds will be available for restoration projects within Butte Area One, as well as for aquatic and terrestrial restoration projects within designated priority areas of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin by the end of the year.  The plans for allocation of these funds are currently being drafted and will be released later this fall for public comment.