Mining Reclamations Include Unregulated Dumps, Sanctioned by DEQ

by jhwygirl

That’s the question on Colstrip rancher Charles Kulver’s mind.

Mine too.

Charles has always been a bit wary of the multiple companies that are strip mining around Colstrip – and recently he came across an unauthorized dump on his property – part of what is apparently a ‘reclamation project’ of Western Energy.

When Kulver reported the 500 foot long, 20 foot wide, 12 foot deep mass of scrap wood, metal, plastics and reddish-brown soil – which also included a boiler and a barrel, from what could be seen, he was told by DEQ that, yes, the state does permit dumping of ‘inert’ ingredients into reclamations.

Lovely, right?

Unregulated, uninspected dumps of stuff.

Wasn’t it just the other day that I was pondering the cleanup sites that have yet to be found, and here we come, not even two weeks later with reports that reclamation sites go about, unregulated and uninspected, using ‘inert’ stuff as fill.

Let me make this clear – and a recent audit of DEQ exposes the inefficiencies – that not only is a lack of enforcement the problem, but the lack of staffing to do the enforcing.

So as this legislature begins to contemplate the next legislative session, perhaps a few of our elected officials – new or old – might consider that Montana’s citizen’s safety and Montana’s water quality and Montana’s citizen’s health depends upon having enough staffing to adequately inspect and oversee the permits which it issues for things like mines and reclamation projects?

Pretty please?

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  1. Snowboarding Afghan Nun

    You know jhwy girl, my psychic priest and I were talking this morning, and, after a good deal of prayer on the subject, decided that you’d be serving the lord’s people in a better way if you started writing for the Missoulian or the Indy because you seem to always be breaking news about things like this, and they… well… they… what’s the polite godly way to say it…
    they’re falling behind compared to your coverage.

    When I really want to know what’s up with local meetings on zoning, growth, or state government agencies like DEQ, BOG, etc. Posts like this are a most holy example. I usually end up coming here first because the hard info is right here, and it’s more timely than revelation.

    From God’s people, we thank you, and urge you to become a writer for a local newspaper. (But God, and a young hacker named shady larry has told us who you really are, and clearly you should stay put because you’re serving people in a much different way in your current “position,” and we’ll leave it at that.)

    And if you’re not already, you should pray every day.

  2. Me thinks the editors of both the Indy and the Missoulian are scared that anyone would suggest such craziness.

    Beyond that, it’s pretty likely that I wouldn’t have been able to write this piece without the Billings Gazette…

    For what seems to be a compliment, I thank you. But regarding my so-called anonymity, what I will say is that what I write, I hope, is far more important than the person who is writing it.

    And that is the way it should be.

    I pray, in my own way, every day. Driving down the road just now, on my way home from out of town, I found myself saying “Dear Lord” as I ever-so-slightly hydroplaned my way down I-90 near Bonner in what appeared to be a mix of snow and rain.

  3. Snowboarding Afghan Nun

    God bless you Jhwy girl.

    It’s a goddam shame there aren’t more like you.

  1. 1 Various & Sundry for the Weekend « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] session to update regulations and get this Department sufficient resources to address things like unregulated dumps and the huge backlog of meth contaminated properties and the inefficiencies and complete failure of […]




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