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Environmental Justice

The Environmental Justice program, established by Presidential Executive Order 12898, requires Federal agencies to ensure that all environmental policies and the disposal of toxic waste do not adversely impact minority and low-income communities. The common concern is that these communities are exposed to unfair levels of environmental risk arising from multiple sources, often coupled with inadequate government response.

The goal of environmental justice is to ensure that all people, regardless of race, national origin or income, are protected from disproportionate impacts of environmental hazards. To be classified as an environmental justice community, residents must be a minority and/or low income group; excluded from the environmental policy setting and/or decision-making process; subject to a disproportionate impact from one or more environmental hazards; and experience a disparate implementation of environmental regulations, requirements, practices and activities in their communities.

Montana’s Environmental Justice Communities

The following is a listing of some of the communities and other areas in Montana with Environmental Justice issues:

  • Anaconda (Deer Lodge County) - Superfund site, mining contamination
  • Libby (Lincoln County) - Superfund site, asbestos contamination and exposure
  • Zortman-Landusky Area (Phillips and Blaine Counties) - pollution from mine tailings
  • Butte/Silver Bow Creek (Silver Bow County) - mining contamination
  • Blackfeet Reservation (Glacier Homes - HUD housing) - contaminated building materials
  • Milltown Dam (Missoula County) - Superfund site, polluted reservoir sediments
  • Lockwood Solvent Plume (Yellowstone County) - Superfund site, groundwater contamination

Web Sites with More Information

There are also many resources on the Internet that provide timely and relevant information on Environmental Justice issues in Montana. The following are just a few: