Flathead Beacon: Sen. Tester takes on White House, Department of Interior over budget cuts

President Barack Obama’s proposed federal budget for 2012 could end funding for abandoned mine cleanup across state, which doesn’t sit well with Montana Sen. Jon Tester.

“There are still many critically important clean up projects in Montana,” Tester wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior and released to the media last week. “The result is damaging to both the environment and our state’s economy. I urge you to swiftly reverse these policies to put people back to work in Montana.”

According to John Koerth, project manager for abandoned mine cleanup at the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, there are thousands of coal and hard rock mine sites across the state that need to be cleaned. Those that pose the largest threat to public safety were listed in 1995 and since then 35 sites have been cleaned up, including the Snowshoe Mine in Lincoln County.

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