Broadwater County leaders seek to block proposed tire recycling facility near Winston

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 19:29:09-04

HELENA – Broadwater County officials say they will seek to block an attempt to create a tire processing facility near Winston.

The county commission held a meeting Monday morning on Two Brothers Tires, LLC’s planned tire recycling facility off Muffley Lane. Two Brothers Tires had been expected to discuss plans for the site during Monday’s meeting, but no representative for the company was able to attend.

Broadwater County Attorney Cory Swanson said an attorney representing Two Brothers asked for the meeting to be postponed. However, commissioners decided to move forward because many residents of the Winston area, including several members of a group formed in opposition of the proposed project, had come to the meeting.

County leaders told those in attendance they don’t believe Two Brothers has taken all the environmental measures they promised when applying for a state permit to process tires.

“The application stated the tires would be neatly stacked in rows, they would have a protective covering on them so that they didn’t attract water and breed mosquitoes and attract rodents,” said Commissioner Laura Obert. “There was also a fire suppression plan, they would have their own equipment and the necessary chemicals to fight a tire fire. The reality now appears that they have not followed through on their own application.”

According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Two Brothers Tires has proposed collecting and storing thousands of used tires on a space of about six acres. Once they collect enough, they will bring in a shredder to process the tires. They will then resell the pieces, which can be used for things like road beds, asphalt and playground surfaces.

If Two Brothers cannot “economically” shred or sell the tires, their application says they will bury them in a dump site.

The Broadwater County health officer had to approve Two Brothers’ permit application before it was forwarded to DEQ. County sanitarian Julie Lethert said she signed off on the application in January, with the approval of the county board of health, which consists of the three commissioners and two citizen members.

Obert said Monday, in light of their new concerns about the project, the board had since voted to revoke their endorsement of the permit. She argued that step should be enough to stop the application from moving forward.

Obert said county leaders are also concerned about reports from neighbors that the owners continued bringing more tires onto the property, after DEQ asked them to wait for the end of the permit application process.

DEQ is still reviewing Two Brothers Tires’ application, and the agency argues the company cannot legally store tires until a final decision is made. Last month, DEQ sent Two Brothers a letter, asking them to stop bringing additional tires onto the property until the review is finished. However, a DEQ spokesperson said agency employees told the company’s owners several months ago that tires already on the property could be stacked and stored while the permit process continued.

MTN reached out to Two Brothers Tires for comment, but did not receive a response before this article was published.