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Rehberg says mine should be open

by Heidi Desch Heidi Desch Western News
| May 3, 2011 1:41 PM

Projects like the Montanore Mine

shouldn’t be stuck in limbo, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg told a group

of about 120 at a town hall meeting on Saturday.

The Republican visited Flathead Valley

Community College’s Lincoln County Campus.

Rehberg said approval for Montanore

should not have taken as long as it has. Those kind of projects

should have a streamlined permitting process, he noted.

“There has to be some kind of finite

time line when we recognize that opponents have had their day in

court,” he said.

A draft Environmental Impact Statement

was created for the mine in 2009, but the owner of the mine, Mines

Management has been waiting since for final approval on the


Rehberg said the same needs to be done

for the Endangered Species Act. He said that’s why he drafted

legislation to amend the act to allow for the delisting of gray

wolves in Montana and Idaho. The bill passed in the U.S. House, but

died in the Senate.

“We don’t want to kill endangered

species like the grizzly, but we want there to be some common

sense,” he said. “It makes sense to Montanans to have a rational,

reasonable Endangered Species Act.”

Looking for ways to stop government

from impeding business remains important, Rehberg noted.

“Let’s get some jobs going,” he said.

“Small government is better.”

Rehberg also touched on a number of

topics, including:

• On northern border security, he said

there are concerns about drug trafficking and other illegal

activity just as there is on the southern border.

“There is a tendency to believe that

all the issues are in the south and Mexico, but that’s not true,”

he said.

• Rehberg said cutting spending is


“During this fiscal crisis as you are

all struggling, the federal government ought to be tightening its


He said he would like to leave money

with those who can create jobs, such as small business owners.

“You don’t raise taxes in the middle of

a recession,” he said.

• An audience member asked Rehberg why

he voted against funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,

which is a federal program that provides money to purchase land and

water for recreation and protection.

Taking a one year reduction in spending

doesn’t hurt for a program that purchases land, Rehberg said.

“We’re taking the money and putting it

somewhere else for one year,” he said. “If we don’t do something

with our overspending we’ll have a problem.”