Public comment outline is below, which you can simply copy/paste into a new email or use as a reference point!
There is a large Superfund site in the Northside neighborhood! Burlington Northern Santa Fe is designated the primary responsible party for clean up. Railroad operations have used and polluted this portion of our neighborhood for decades. Unless we help steer the DEQ toward holding the responsible party liable for the best cleanup that can be required by law, BNSF will be allowed to pass that expense on to future generations — and it may never happen at all.
The DEQ needs to exercise its authority to create a clean and healthy environment for all Montana’s citizens. They should not limit our options for the future use of this site, which could be home to future homes that Missoulians can afford. We as neighbors MUST comment to prevent this limitation and keep options open for future housing in Missoula.
Give Your Public Comment Now! Deadline May 2nd!
Only 10 days left! We have a public comment outline below, which you can simply copy/paste into a new email or use as a reference point. (Comments received through the postal service must be postmarked no later than May 2, 2021, and comments submitted electronically must be received no later than 11:59 pm MST on May 2, 2021.)
email [email protected]
Or mail to:
DEQ Waste Management and Remediation Division
P.O. Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620
Want to read more? Here are some resources: DEQ’s Fact Sheet and Proposed Plan. Also see the City Council’s resolution asking DEQ to clean the site up to residential standards. And the DEQ page where you can track this issue.
Public Comment: Copy/Paste, Add/Edit, and Send it!
email [email protected]
Zachary Neudeck and the DEQ:
My name is XXXXXXXXX and I live at XXXXXXXXX in Missoula, MT. [Edit here: This is why I care about this site being cleaned up and available for housing in the future!]
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s conclusion regarding the anticipated future land uses for the Burlington Northern Missoula Facility in Missoula’s Northside neighborhood – my neighborhood – is NOT acceptable. Housing is a reasonable anticipated use of this site, as indicated within the 4 criteria below, and this neighborhood asks that the DEQ (1) change their conclusion regarding future anticipated land use and (2) thusly require that the Facility be cleaned up to residential standards now by the Responsible Party, BNSF.
Housing is a reasonable – and necessary – municipally-anticipated use of now vacant, abandoned, and blighted portions of the BNSF Railyard in my neighborhood!
1. Current zoning
Current zoning (MR1-2) already allows mixed residential and commercial use.
2. Historical Use
While the site has historically been used as a railyard and fueling station, a large portion of the area has not been used as a railyard for at least 50 years and is not in use at all. In addition, prior to being a railyard, this land was home to Indigenous people for thousands of years; these historical, non-industrial uses should also receive consideration when assessing historical use.
3. Current Pattern of Use
The current pattern of use is trending toward the overall area being used less as a railyard over time. Specifically, the area labelled “East fueling station” is currently not being used at all.
This is the largest and most visibly blighted area of downtown Missoula, prominently noticeable from the Interstate, comprising dozens of acres of land.
4. Future Use
The site in question is indicated for residential development and use in many City documents, including the Downtown Master Plan, the Missoula City Growth Policy, and the Northside/Westside Neighborhood Plan.
We are in a housing crisis and the Northside has seen dramatic residential development adjacent to that site in the past several years. The City of Missoula and the Northside/Westside community intend to – and need to – develop housing on this site in order to accommodate our growing community and slow the unprecedented rate of neighbor displacement caused by our current housing crisis.
Based on the DEQ’s 4 criteria, we have every reason to believe that housing is a reasonably anticipated and highly desirable use of this site and the responsible party should be required to clean it up to residential standards.
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s conclusion regarding the anticipated future land uses for the Burlington Northern Missoula Facility in Missoula’s Northside neighborhood – my neighborhood – is NOT acceptable. Housing is a reasonable anticipated use of this site, so it is the DEQ’s responsibility to (1) change its conclusion regarding future anticipated land use and (2) thusly require that the Facility be cleaned up to residential standards now by the Responsible Party, BNSF.