BUTTE – Montana environmental groups are worried federal budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could run as deep as the Berkeley Pit in Butte.

“Massive budget cuts from across the board. Every agency, they’re talking about firing a lot of people,” said Adam Pimley with the Clean Air Montana Coalition.

The Clean Air Montana Coalition is touring Montana this week claiming the Trump Administration’s proposed 30 percent cut to the EPA Budget will be harmful to Butte and other communities.

Former Anaconda resident Melissa Nootz talked about how she believes toxic soil on her property caused her to have two miscarriages and health problems for her youngest daughter.

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“This is not the time to weaken the EPA, we should not be talking about cutting budgets, firing people. We shouldn’t be debating whether to cut Superfund funding. We should be talking about how to build the EPA, make it stronger,” Nootz said.

The Montana Clean Air Coalition also sent letters to Montana’s U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines asking them not to support budget cuts to the EPA.

“We want to bring attention to this now so that when they go back to D. C., they know that cuts to the EPA mean a lot to folks in Butte and Anaconda and all the way down to Missoula, and all across Montana,” Pimley said.

Butte is certainly a town entrenched in Superfund issues. They’re dealing with the cleanup of Silver Bow Creek to this massive Berkeley Pit full of toxic water. That’s why some residents in town say it’s important the EPA has a strong budget.

“Hopefully decisions are made on well-founded science and it takes money. Cutting the budget by a third, if we cut a budget by a third on the people who work on priority soils, we’ll be in trouble,” said Joe Griffin, a retired member of the Department of Environmental Quality.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has called for a Superfund task force and supports streamlining the EPA to make it run more efficiently.

MTN’s John Emeigh 

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