Last year, the State of Montana took enforcement action against Hecla Mining Co. CEO, Phillips Baker, under the state’s “bad actor” law, which says mining companies and their senior executives can’t get a new permit if they’ve reneged on past clean-up obligations unless they reimburse the state for those costs. Yet, while this matter is still in court, Hecla and its CEO are pursuing an exploration permit for the Montanore Mine that would tunnel into the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness—a slice of northwest Montana wild country that’s a refuge for hikers, climbers, horse packers, and a wide range of wildlife, including threatened species like grizzly bear and bull trout.  

Photo courtesy of Ken Vanden Heuval

The full mine plan has already been rejected by the courts for violating the Clean Water Act, National Forest Management Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Now, the company is back to the drawing board, pushing for a new exploration permit to dig under the wilderness.

The Kootenai National Forest is accepting comments until August 5, 2019, on a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Montanore Minerals Corporation proposal to evaluate an underground copper and silver ore body and a tailings impoundment site near the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.For more information or to send in your public comments (include “Montanore Evaluation Project DSEIS” in subject line), visit: Fs.usda.gov/detail/kootenai/landmanagement/projects/?cid=fseprd639727