September 22, 2017
This case challenges state approval for a plan by Canadian-based Lucky Minerals (“Lucky”) to explore for gold and other minerals in Emigrant Gulch above Montana’s iconic Paradise Valley, approximately 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Lucky’s project aims to pave the way for a large-scale gold mine in this sensitive and scenic area. More than 300 Park County, Montana businesses and thousands of individuals have objected to the project on grounds that it would industrialize a remote area that is home to grizzly bears, wolverines, and other wildlife, and would threaten to dismantle Park County’s tourism economy that depends on clean water and pristine views. However, on July 26, 2017, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) determined that the exploratory drilling—which would occur 24 hours each day between July 15 and October 15 for two consecutive years—would not cause any significant environmental impacts and approved the project.