09.00: Lee Metcalf Building, 1520 E 6th Ave, Helena
I was taken to the building close to the Montana History Museum and had a discussion with staff from DEQ on various topics, ranging from reviewing and accessing environmental permit to getting attention from the community using social media. I found it amusing to know that in a short period of time, they had been learning to use Twitter to make announcements or declarations for the public, with the initial outcomes being quite promising. The combination of information technologies and saving the environment was something I really love to see more in the future.
11.45: Silver Bow Pizza Parlor, 3500 Harrison Ave, Butte
After a 65 minute trip from Helena, I had lunch with other YSEALI members at a Pizza Buffet, which was 5 miles from the next destination, the Berkeley Pit. The restaurant was decorated in American traditional style but modernized by 3 LCD screens in each corner and several arcade game machines in the back. However, despite having a very eye-catching interior, food served there was not that impressive, partly due to the differences between Western and Eastern taste. It would be interesting if by one way or another, they could include some kinds of Asian noodle or other cuisines in the menu as an option for someone who has travelled over 5.000 miles from home.
13.15: The Berkeley Pit
Berkeley Pit was a former copper mine operated by the Anaconda Copper during the 50s of the 20th century. It could be approached by following the narrow steep road north to the city center. There were a number of separated structures, each was once the giant pump or drill. The highest one stood right on the peak of the hill, next to an abandoned house. The team was gathered on a fenced area and introduced by a man wearing a cowboy suit and driving a navy blue SUV, who turned out to be the guide in that short tour. He explained the negative impact of the mining site on the surrounding environment and its closure in 1982. Although today the mining activities were declined, the challenges still lie ahead, unless the pond containing acidic water is totally treated. That was how I see the problem.
15.00: Butte Basin Creek Power
Personally, the visit to the factory was my most favorite part of the whole trip, as it offered an overview of converting natural gas or other similar energy to electricity. The building was configured with 9 Caterpillar engines, each contained 16 cylinders charged by 2 turbofans, generating more than 8.000 horsepower. In plain language, there were 9 big Bugatti Veyron connected and instead of racing at 260 mph around the Indianapolis Speedway, they contributed over 50 MW to the state electricity system. Assuming that there are many factories like the mentioned one being erected, the state would no longer have to worry about the lack of electricity. I tend to support this method because not only is it efficient but also very eco-friendly. The exhaust gas system was designed to be treated entirely before being released to the atmosphere.
The day ended with an international barbecue party in a park. Students from all over the world, including the YSEALI group, gathered and had some outdoor activities.