WHEREAS, the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, as amended (CERCLA) and the Montana Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (CECRA) allow states as trustees for natural resources to recover monetary damages for injuries to natural resources caused by releases of hazardous substances; and
WHEREAS, in 1983 the State of Montana, pursuant to its role as trustee, filed suit in federal court against the Atlantic Richfield Company alleging that the company is liable for injury to the natural resources of the Upper Clark Fork River Basin; and
WHEREAS, the Governor acts as the trustee for the State's natural resources and of any damages recovered to compensate the public for injuries to those resources as permitted under CERCLA; and
WHEREAS, settlement negotiations have been ongoing between representatives of the State of Montana and ARCO for some time, but have heightened in intensity during recent months; and
WHEREAS, several local officials and citizens in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin have requested regular briefings on the status of the lawsuit and the opportunity for input concerning how any awards that may be recovered by the State as a result of this lawsuit will be used; and
WHEREAS, CERCLA requires that natural resource damage awards be used only to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources that are the subject of the litigation. 42 U.S.C. 9607(f)(1); and
WHEREAS, in addition to the ongoing litigation involving the Upper Clark Fork River the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under cooperative agreements that provide funding to the State and define state and federal agency roles for directing the remediation of various operable units within the Upper Clark Fork River Basin National Priority List site, as authorized under CERCLA.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, MARC RACICOT, Governor of the State of Montana, pursuant to the authority vested in me by the laws and Constitution of the State of Montana, do hereby continue the Upper Clark Fork Basin Remediation and Restoration Education Advisory Council.
The primary purpose of the Advisory Council is to promote public understanding of the State's efforts to remediate and restore sites in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin that have been injured by hazardous substances for which ARCO is liable. To that end the Advisory Council shall establish a procedure for the sharing of information with the Advisory Council, State's Natural Resource Damage and Superfund Programs, and the public.
Any advice provided to the Governor with respect to issues involving remediation and restoration efforts in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, including the use to which any funds that may be recovered from settlement or trial of litigation are put would have to be consistent with the requirement that such funds be used for restoration or replacement of the injured natural resources in accordance with a restoration plan prepared by the State of Montana as provided by law. Moreover, such advice would not be considered to the exclusion of input of other interested individuals or groups.
The existence of the Advisory Council does not in any way diminish the powers of the Governor as trustee pursuant to CERCLA and CECRA. Nor is it intended to comment on the status of any pending litigation or related negotiations.
The Advisory Council will consist of the following members as identified below. The members shall serve a two-year term and be subject to re-appointment.
The names of the members of the Advisory Council will be submitted by separate letter to the Secretary of State.
The Advisory Council will exist for a period of two years from the effective date of this Order unless otherwise ordered by subsequent Executive Order. This Order is effective immediately.
|GIVEN under my hand and the GREAT
SEAL of the State of Montana,
this ___ day of __________, 2000.
MARC RACICOT, Governor
MIKE COONEY, Secretary of State