A front-page Montana Standard news article on Nov. 5 had a headline that proclaimed approval from our Restore Our Creek Coalition of the plans for a new park in the center of Butte along the historic Silver Bow Creek corridor.
The coalition sees from the park design that the responsible parties listened to much of our message — conveyed on behalf of the community and backed by 3,500 signatures — but they did not include the central part of our message. There is NO CREEK in their conceptual plan.
Before the mining that devastated Butte’s landscape, a beautiful Silver Bow Creek ran right through the center of Butte, from its current confluence with Blacktail Creek to Texas Avenue, the MR concentrator, and beyond. However, the consent decree plan that has finally appeared still does not include a creek, even after serious and meaningful discussions over the last nine months.
In January of this year, Regional EPA Administrator Doug Benevento held up our community’s Silver Bow Creek vision document centered around a restored Silver Bow Creek while proudly proclaiming that the remedy that the parties were working on would be tailored to enable that vision.
The Montana Standard editorialized on June 3 of this year, “If the parties say their remedy is compatible with a creek, let them prove it with a solidly engineered plan for restoration that makes a creek a reality.” We agreed wholeheartedly then and continue to do so.
Let me be clear on behalf of the coalition: The name of the group is the “Restore Our Creek Coalition,” not the “Remove the Tailings Coalition” nor the “Build the Park Coalition.” We appreciate the removal of tailings and the park outlined in the conceptual plan which emerged from serious good-faith discussions. But we, on behalf of the thousands who have rallied to our banner, are committed to restoring the creek.
Thank you, BP, Atlantic Richfield, and the others, for listening as much as you have, but please listen to our full message. Let’s stay at this until we all get the job done.