Dangerous mining chemicals abandoned at a lab in Norris shut down two major highways and caused the evacuation of the entire town. Thankfully, no one was injured. Thanks to the first responders and the EPA now dealing with the contamination.
A July 16 special session seems unlikely according to figures posted Monday by the secretary of state’s office, showing 19 Republicans reject the proposal so far, cutting into the majority needed to hold such a meeting. Several republican legislators attempted to call a special session to interfere with two citizen ballot initiatives, I-185 and I-186, they don’t agree with. It would be a complete waste of taxpayer money and the definition of government overreach.
Supporters of the initiatives say lawmakers should let the voters decide and accused lawmakers of bowing to special interest groups.
Mining is part of Montana’s heritage, but if mining is going be part of our future, we have to update our state mining laws to represent our Montana values. With citizen’s initiative I-186, Trout Unlimited and our partners in “Yes for Responsible Mining” are working to support mining while also ensuring that the citizens of Montana have a say in protecting our water.
Department of Environmental Quality officials filed suit this week asking a judge to bar Hecla Mining Co. CEO Phillips S. Baker Jr. from opening any new mines in the state under Montana’s “bad actor” law. Baker was chief financial officer of Pegasus Mining when the firm filed for bankruptcy, leaving the state with tens of millions of dollars in cleanup costs. Hecla has proposed opening a pair mines in the northwestern corner of the state near the Idaho border.
Montana’s status as a colony to be exploited by out-of-state mining companies must be erased. Tourism and high-tech industries are supplanting extractive industries as the state’s main economic drivers. The days when mining companies permanently deface landscapes and walk away must end.
Join us and help save the Smith River.