TOWNSEND – Community members upset over a proposed tire recycling facility outside Winston took their concerns to county leaders Monday.
A handful of residents spoke before the commission to say Two Brothers Tires, LLC out of Belgrade isn’t following state regulations and that the piles of tires are an eyesore and a danger to public health and Montana’s landscape. Some said they are concerned about the potential for the tires to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes which are already a nuisance near Winston.
Laura Obert, Broadwater County commissioner, listened as community members gave public comment on the facility.
“Residents are understandably upset about what they’re seeing on the foothills of the Elkhorns. There’s certain regulations regarding tire facilities either for storage, collection what have you and they’re not being met at this point,” Obert said.
Obert said the commission alerted Montana’s Department of Environment Quality to the issues at the facility, which had not obtained a permit to house solid waste.
As a result, DEQ issued a cease and desist order to Two Brothers Tires this month, halting the company from bringing any more tires onto the property. The company has a pending application with DEQ to begin shredding the tires once they reach a certain amount.
Nikki Willoughby with the Winston Tire Shredding Opposition group hopes this is where the commission can weigh in and sway DEQ’s decision on the permit.
“We would like the commission to step in and help us put pressure on DEQ to start cleaning it up. We believe the commission also has the ability to put pressure on this illegal dump site,” Willoughby said.
Obert said the commission will draft a letter advising DEQ of their concerns, but overall the commission is limited in what it can do.
“We don’t have as much teeth as I think they’d like us to have, but we certainly have enough teeth to be able to communicate, work with and address some of these issues with DEQ,” Obert said.
A representative with Two Brothers Tires was at the meeting Monday but wasn’t answering questions and deferred to an upcoming commission meeting where the company will present its plans and answer questions. The commission meeting is scheduled for July 2 at 11 a.m.
The Winston Tire Shredding Opposition group is having another meeting of its own on June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Big Bull Bar and Grill in Winston.