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On Tuesday, The Montana Standard and the Restore Our Creek Coalition are co-sponsoring a rally at the Covellite Theatre, 215 W. Broadway St., to drive home the community’s support of a real, thorough cleanup of the Upper Silver Bow Creek watershed.

If you think, as we do, that the pollutants along the waterway should be removed, giving it a chance to recover from its current status as a toxic sacrifice zone in the middle of our town, come to the rally and make your feelings known.

A sparse turnout will be a signal to Atlantic Richfield, EPA, the state and Butte-Silver Bow that people just don’t care that much — that Superfund fatigue has fatally compromised the community energy and activism needed to make change.

Conversely, a strong turnout will send a dramatic signal in the other direction — a signal that Butte passionately cares about a clean future for its children and grandchildren, an environment where economic development is possible on a larger scale, and continuing to make The Mining City a healthier and more enjoyable place to live.

In a sense, it’s too bad that we must resort to a show of community involvement and force. Our local, state and federal government should know how vital a real cleanup — not a patch job and a “see ya” — is to this town. They should know that Butte, of all places, deserves better than it’s gotten from the agencies that control government’s handling of the cleanup and better than it’s gotten from Atlantic Richfield.

They should know that any cleanup that leaves waste in the ground in an aquifer is ultimately destructive to everything that has already been remediated downstream. They should know that despite the cockeyed decision to start the cleanup of the Clark Fork watershed downstream instead of at the source of the pollution, it’s not too late to act decisively to protect and expand the cleanup. It’s not too late to help the people of Butte as much as the people of Missoula have been helped by the removal of the Milltown Dam and the construction of a world-class park.

And why should we expect anything less?

Come to the rally at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and, by your very presence, send a powerful message to the decision-makers who hold Butte’s future in their hands.

We’ll see you there.

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