BUTTE – After more than a year on the job of overseeing Superfund cleanup in Butte and Anaconda as the EPA Regional Administrator, Doug Benevento is leaving the post for a higher position in the EPA.
“Doug Benevento had a lot of knowledge and I think he cared and I think he was concerned and so I’m really disappointed to see him leave,” said Fritz Daily of the Restore Our Creek Coalition.
Though based in Denver, Benevento visited the Butte area several times and is credited for making the Superfund cleanup process more transparent and getting a consent decree in place that outlines a definitive environmental cleanup plan for Butte.
“And that’s primarily because of the pressure he put on, that if you don’t get it done, we’re going to do it for you and you might not like the results,” said Evan Barrett of Restore Our Creek.
Daily added, “I’ve been involved for 35 and a half years on this issue and this is really the first time that we have had this kind of access.”
Benevento will be the regional senior counselor for the new EPA Administrator. Some still believe he will do good for the Butte cleanup effort in his new post.
“He’s got all this history in Butte, Anaconda and Silver Bow Creek together. I think he won’t lose track of it, so I’m an optimist that this might be a positive development,” said Barrett.
One major concern those involved in the Superfund issue have is they don’t know how active the replacement administrator will be in this cleanup issue.
“As the old Irish ladies used to say, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,’ and I think that’s what you’re up against. At least we knew this guy, at least we knew what he thought and I really believe he cared,” said Daily.
Benevento will start his new position working with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler April 1.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News