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The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regional administrator for the Rocky Mountain states, Doug Benevento, will get his first taste of Butte Wednesday.

As part of a larger tour of Montana, Benevento is stopping through Butte before he flies back to Region 8’s Denver headquarters Wednesday afternoon. He will meet about 15 community leaders for an hour at the Chamber of Commerce starting at 1:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump appointed Benevento around the beginning of October. He replaces Shaun McGrath, who was an appointee of President Barack Obama.

Restore Our Creek Coalition representatives will be attending the meeting. EPA’s Community Involvement Coordinator Robert Moler said EPA worked with Restore Our Creek Coalition to invite a variety of community representatives to sit at the table.

Restore Our Creek Coalition spokesperson Northey Tretheway said he looks forward to the opportunity to meet Benevento. Tretheway plans to ask Benevento about the issue at the heart of his group — the restoration of Silver Bow Creek.

EPA invited Montana Tech Professor and long-time Superfund critic John Ray, who has a long list of questions for Benevento. Ray, who chairs Citizens for Labor and Environmental Justice, plans to ask Benevento about his commitment to environmental justice.

Ray hopes the meeting will lead to meaningful conversation about Butte’s various Superfund issues.

“I hope I’ll get an opportunity to express the frustration with both the pace and the quality of cleanup here in Butte,” Ray said.

Benevento’s visit comes just ahead of a rally Restore Our Creek Coalition plans to hold in two weeks. Tretheway said the group “wants to make sure we’re building momentum and let everyone know we’re not going away.”

"The cleanup will determine the sustainability of Butte's future," he said. 

The rally will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Covellite Theatre, 215 W. Broadway. There will be a number of speakers, including longtime Democratic state official Evan Barrett and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stephanie Sorini.

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Nat'l Resources / General Reporter

Environmental and natural resources reporter for the Montana Standard.

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