"The parties to Anaconda's Superfund cleanup have reached an agreement in principle, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Sunday.
The agreement is the first step toward getting a signed consent decree, the legal document that will carve into stone the final steps of the Smelter City's cleanup. Doug Benevento, EPA Region 8 administrator, had said previously that he intends for Anaconda to have a consent decree with the ink dry by the end of the year.
The EPA, the Atlantic Richfield Company, the state of Montana, and Anaconda-Deer Lodge County were locked in closed-door negotiations last week. The EPA had given Anaconda until Tuesday to reach an agreement in principle over the Smelter City’s Superfund cleanup — threatening to impose a unilateral cleanup order if the negotiations were unsuccessful. The Anaconda cleanup, like Butte's, has been ongoing for 35 years. The agreement was reached Saturday."