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Comment period begins on Montanore Project

| February 25, 2009 11:00 PM

The Western News

The long-awaited draft environmental impact statement on the Montanore Project was scheduled to begin a 90-day public comment period on Friday, U.S. Forest Service officials announced.

The Montanore Project is a proposed copper and silver underground mine located about 18 miles south of Libby near the Cabinet Mountains. The draft EIS includes three mine alternatives and four transmission line alternatives, each of which include a “no action” option.

The Kootenai National Forest and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality recently completed the draft EIS. The forest and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use information to determine whether or not to issue approvals necessary for construction and operation of the mine.

Paul Bradford, Kootenai National Forest supervisor, told the Lincoln County commissioners on Wednesday that the process of evaluating comments and developing an EIS for a final decision could go on for at least another year.

An open house and public meeting is scheduled for April 16 at Libby City Hall in the Ponderosa Room. The open house begins at 5 p.m. and an organized hearing will follow at 6:30 p.m. During the hearing, citizens will be able to voice their opinions and concerns.

The comment period for the draft EIS ends May 28.

For details and descriptions of the various alternatives, the draft EIS and summary on the Montanore Project can be found online and downloaded from:

• Kootenai National Forest website at: www.fs.fed.us/r1/kootanai/projects/projects/montanore/index.shtml

• Montana DEQ’s website at: www.deq.mt.gov/eis.asp