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Richest Hill

If you don’t know Butte Montana, you might have heard it’s one of the biggest toxic messes in the country. But now the “Mining City” is on the verge of sealing a deal that could clean it up once and for all. So how did we get here? What comes after Superfund? And who gets to decide? Find out now on Richest Hill, a single-season podcast from Montana Public Radio.

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Richest Hill Episode 04: We Gave It To The Pit

I live a mile away from the Berkeley Pit, the mile by mile and a half wide former open-pit mine, which is now filled with a 50 billion gallon toxic lake. Every time I visit, I leave hyper aware of the contradictions and compromises that go hand in glove with industrialization. I find myself wondering: who thought chiseling a colossal hole in the Earth was a good idea, and why? So today, let’s take a dive, figuratively, into open pit mining and some controversial decisions made late last century that changed Butte’s land, people, and environmental legacy forever. This is Episode 4: We Gave it to the Pit.

41mins

29 May 2019

Rank #1

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Richest Hill Episode 03: First And Last Warning

In August 1917, Frank Little was the victim of a grisly murder in Butte. Little was a labor organizer who came to Butte to unify and radicalize Butte’s miners in their fight against the Anaconda Mining Company for higher wages and safer working conditions. Most historians believe that the Anaconda Company was behind Little’s killing, but no one knows for sure. A note pinned to his underwear threatened, "Others take notice: first and last warning," along with the numbers 3-7-77, the calling card of frontier vigilantes.

35mins

9 Apr 2019

Rank #2

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Richest Hill Episode 02: For The Benefit Of Mankind

At first glance, Butte, Montana's mutilated industrial landscape is often written-off as an ecological sacrifice-zone. Dirty, ugly as sin and regrettable, but necessary to supply the country with perhaps the most basic necessity of the Electrical Age: Copper. But if you take the time to really look carefully, what you find here will challenge, surprise and even change you. Take a closer look at the copper that put the Richest Hill on the map; the city's storied past; and the nostalgia and sense of purpose that pervade the Mining City, right now on Richest Hill episode two.

31mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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Richest Hill Episode 06: Our Most Cherished Beliefs

After more than 30 years in limbo without a final cleanup agreement, the ink is drying on Butte’s big Superfund deal as we speak. What it means and why it matters has everything to do with what played out when Superfund came to Montana’s Mining City. So today we’re asking: back in those early days of Superfund, who were the players, and what was the game? This is episode 06: Our Most Cherished Beliefs .

52mins

7 Jan 2020

Rank #4

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Richest Hill Episode 05: Out Of The Frying Pan, Into The Fire

From Evel Knievel to a 'Great Flood' and on to the dawning of the Superfund era, Episode 5 looks at the origins of the government program designed to force whoever made the mess to clean it up.

37mins

13 Aug 2019

Rank #5