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Press Release November 10, 2021

Tribes, Conservation Groups File Legal Action To Compel Montana DEQ to Enforce “Bad Actor” Law Against Hecla Mining Executive

Deliver petition to Gov. Gianforte: Protect Montana from corporate polluter

In the News: Missoula Current August 4, 2021

Tribal, conservation groups plan lawsuit against DEQ over Hecla mining dismissal

Shiloh Hernandez, Attorney, Northern Rockies Office: “This pollution is impacting the Fort-Belknap tribe, and it’s already polluting important historical and ceremonial sights for them. That’s a big slap in the face from both Baker for not cleaning up his mess and now the state for letting Baker get away with it.”

document August 2, 2021

Montanore Minerals Corp., et al., v. DEQ, et al., No. ADV 2018-363 – Intervenors' Response to DEQ's Motion to Dismiss

Montanore Minerals Corp., et al., v. DEQ, et al., No. ADV 2018-363 – Intervenors’ Response to DEQ’s Motion to Dismiss

document November 18, 2020

Supreme Court No. DA 19-0553: Opinion

Supreme Court No. DA 19-0553: Opinion

Press Release: Victory November 18, 2020

Victory for Clean Water: Montana Supreme Court Blocks Montanore Mine Pollution Permit

Ruling rejects company’s bid to rely on decades-old pollution standards to contaminate streams

Lifelong Montana resident Tim Flynn encourages his neighbors to rethink the assumption that Montanans must mine at any cost. He supports a state law that holds mining executives accountable for cleaning up their pollution.
(Eric Ian for Earthjustice)
Article July 30, 2019

Montanans Win Latest Fight to Keep Harmful Mining Out of a Pristine Wilderness Area

Earthjustice is fighting in the courts and in the state legislature to protect Montana's pristine Cabinet Mountains Wilderness from mining companies and serial polluters.

Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness is one of the nation’s original wilderness areas.
(Eric Ian for Earthjustice)
Press Release: Victory July 29, 2019

Montana Court Strikes Down Water Pollution Permit for Montanore Mine, Protecting Clean Water and Native Fish

Permits for both of Hecla’s proposed mines in Montana’s Cabinet Mountains Wilderness have been ruled unlawful this year

document July 24, 2019

Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment re: Montanore Project

The Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System's renewed water pollution discharge permit issued for the Montanore Minerals Corporation's copper and silver mine proposed to be developed in the Cabinet Mountains in northwest Montana is vacated and the matter remanded to Department of Environmental Quality for further action consistent with this decision.

video July 26, 2018

Defending the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness

The Cabinet Mountain Wilderness — a 35-mile wide stretch of remote and pristine land that provides refuge to a precariously small population of threatened grizzly bears and supplies some of the purest water in the nation — is facing permanent harm by two proposed mines.

document April 4, 2018

Motion to Intervene Montanore Mine

Earthworks, Montana Environmental Information Center, Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance, Save Our Cabinets, and Montana Conservation Voters (collectively “Proposed Intervenors”), hereby seek to intervene in this case to defend the March 20, 2018 determinations by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) that Phillips S. Baker, Jr., and Hecla Mining Company (“Hecla”) are in violation of the “bad actor” provisions of Montana’s Metal Mine Reclamation Act (“MMRA”), Mont. Code Ann. §§ 82-4-360, 82-4-361.

Granite Lake, Cabinet Mountain Wilderness.
(Troy Smith / Flickr)
Press Release April 4, 2018

Conservation Coalition Seeks to Defend DEQ Enforcement Action Against Hecla Mining

Groups seek to intervene in lawsuit aiming to overturn DEQ’s determinations that Hecla and Baker are in violation of the bad actor provisions

Press Release: Victory March 20, 2018

Montana DEQ Announces that Hecla Mining Company, National Mining Association Chairman Phillips Baker in Violation of Montana’s “Bad Actor” Laws

DEQ issues violation letters to Rock Creek and Montanore Mine developers in response to conservation coalition’s enforcement request

Cliff Lake in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana.  Hecla Mining Company, which is run by a former top official of Pegasus Gold, is pushing to develop two massive hard rock mines that would tunnel beneath the wilderness.
(Photo courtesy of Randy Beacham / Clark Fork Coalition)
Press Release October 23, 2017

Groups Ask DEQ to Halt Unlawful Mining by Former Leader of Bankrupt Mining Company

Former Pegasus Gold official’s plans to develop Rock Creek and Montanore Mines violate state law

document October 20, 2017

Earthjustice Letter to Montana Department of Environmental Quality

This is a request for enforcement under the Metal Mine Reclamation Act (“MMRA”), MCA §§ 82-4-331(3), 82-4-335(9), and 82-4-360(1), submitted on behalf of Earthworks, Montana Environmental Information Center, Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance, and Save Our Cabinets (collectively, the “Conservation Organizations”). The cited MMRA provisions generally prohibit the former principals of companies that fail to complete required mine reclamation from receiving a hard rock exploration license or operating permit and conducting exploration or mining activities in Montana. As explained more fully below, these provisions apply to and prohibit Hecla Mining Company (“Hecla”) from developing the Rock Creek and Montanore mine projects because Hecla President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director Phillips S. Baker, Jr. is a former principal officer of Pegasus Gold Incorporated and its subsidiaries Pegasus Gold Corporation, Zortman Mining Incorporated, Pegasus Gold Montana Mining Incorporated, and Beal Mountain Mining Incorporated. The Pegasus entities failed to complete required reclamation of, at a minimum, the Zortman-Landusky and Basin Creek mines, resulting in DEQ’s receipt of bond funds to carry out necessary reclamation in their stead.

document August 15, 2017

Montanore Mine Water Quality

This case challenges the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s issuance of a water pollution discharge permit for the Montanore Mine, a massive copper and silver mining project proposed by the Montanore Minerals Corp. (“MMC”) in the Cabinet Mountains of northwest Montana. The proposed mine would tunnel beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area of the Kootenai National Forest, which boasts some of the purest waters in the lower-48 and harbors vital populations of bull trout—a threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act—and other native fish.

East Fork Bull River, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness is the area’s most important bull trout spawning stream.
(Katherine O'Brien / Earthjustice)
Press Release August 15, 2017

Coalition Challenges Water Pollution Permit for Montanore Mine

Permit authorizes pollution of high-quality trout streams on public lands

document May 31, 2017

Montanore Mine Cabinet ESA Order

For the reasons set forth below, the Forest Service motion for summary judgment on Count II is granted. On all other claims Plaintiffs prevail. The Project will be remanded to the agencies for consideration in light of this Order and Opinion. BACKGROUND I. The

document May 31, 2017

Montanore Mine Court Decision and Order

The plaintiffs in this consolidated action seek review under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, of federal agency actions and the associated planning documents relating to the approval of a proposed mining operation in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness area in the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana.