Mine Cleanup Projects

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest includes three abandoned-mine cleanup projects:

  • The Basin Mining Area in Jefferson County includes 300 abandoned mine sites in and around the town of Basin.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1999.  The EPA is the lead agency for site cleanup.
  • The Beal Mountain Mine in Silver Bow County was an active gold mine from 1988 to 1997.  The US Forest Service assumed responsibility for site cleanup in 2004, under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The USFS is the lead agency and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a cooperating agency.
  • The Black Pine Mine in Granite County was a silver mine for over 100 years, ending operations in 2005.  The Montana DEQ is the lead agency for the cleanup of the 1,056-acre site.  Most of the cleanup work was completed in 2017.

Work at all three sites is authorized by Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).  CERCLA was enacted to enable the federal government to respond to or “clean up” sites that have releases or spills of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants to the environment.  The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) does not apply to CERCLA response actions. However, the Forest Service conducts CERCLA response actions in accordance with the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, more commonly called the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP includes a framework similar to NEPA for planning and coordinating response actions. Similar to NEPA, community involvement is an important step to inform the public and engage the public in decision-making.


Key Contacts