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We talked Butte, we talked Libby, and of course, we talked Kalispell. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in Montana and joined us on our statewide radio show "Montana Talks with Aaron Flint."

Montana's Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) brought EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on a tour of multiple Brownfields sites in Kalispell, including Glacier Rail Park, the former CHS Country Store, the CHS Agronomy Center, and SunRift Restaurant.

According to a press release from the senator's office, the  EPA's Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans, environmental job training, technical assistance, training, and research.

KPAX-TV caught up with Senator Daines during the visit:

“This is an example of how we work together with our communities and the EPA to restore, reclaim and redevelop lands that previously weren’t able to be used for anything that’s economically viable,” said Sen. Daines.

 


I spoke with EPA Administrator Wheeler Friday morning ahead of the visit. One of the concerns I shared with him was the need for speed when it comes to environmental cleanup. Communities don't want the cleanup to drag on as long as it has during previous administrations.

We also spoke about the importance of cutting red tape and onerous government regulations in order to speed up and improve the cleanup process.

Wheeler touted the Trump Administration's environmental achievements.

Wheeler: We've been working with Senator Daines on the Anaconda-Butte Superfund cleanup. We've actually made more progress there in the last 2 1/2 years than in the last 20 years. And under this Administration, under President Trump's leadership, we have reduced air pollution 7% during the Trump Administration- 7% by the end of last year.

In 2019 alone, Wheeler mentioned de-listing 27 Superfund sites. He says that is the most of any year since 2011.