Montana needs I-186 — and mining, too

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In reviewing previous letters and mailers pro and con regarding I-186, the extreme stance that voting “yes” will prevent “any future mining” in Montana is purely hyperbolic rhetoric designed to frighten voters.

We all want mining jobs to come to our communities — and they will. We are a state brimming with resources.

Coming from Anaconda, I assure you, mining has not always been a good corporate citizen to its host communities. What happened in Butte/Anaconda is a stark reminder about mining along with Libby’s own history of irresponsible industries. Aren’t we all still dealing with the aftermath of “the company” requiring major government interventions to address the toxic waste?

The mining industry has a powerful voice and those creating fear about I-186 often have financial interests tied to it or are those who have bought into their fear tactics about jobs.

The truth is, this bill is a modest safeguard for our communities simply insuring that if a mine is going to need clean-up into “perpetuity” (forever!) that the company makes a commitment to be responsible. That’s it!

The bill names the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to define if “perpetual clean up” is needed. Predictions can be made, but it’s usually after the “toxins” are left that it is determined.

This bill won’t affect the Montanore or Rock Creek Mines; these permits are in. Since putting in the protections similar to I-186, other states (like New Mexico) have had new mines going in.

Montana needs this same protection. Vote yes on I-186.

—Laurie Boehler Walsh,

Libby

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