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When Pegasus Gold declared bankruptcy in 1998, it left the public with the bill for tens of millions of dollars in reclamation costs at the company’s abandoned Zortman-Landusky, Beal Mountain, and Basin Creek Mines—cyanide heap-leach gold mines that severely polluted the surrounding land and will require expensive water treatment forever. The Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Pegasus leading right up to the bankruptcy was a mining executive named Phillips S. Baker, Jr.
Because of Pegasus’ reckless actions, in 2001 the Republican controlled legislature and Governor Judy Martz expanded the “bad actor” provisions of the state’s hard-rock mining act. That provision now prohibits companies that fail to clean up their mines and those companies’ top executives from undertaking new mining projects in Montana unless and until they pay back the state, with interest, for the costs of cleaning up their old messes and ensure that their abandoned mines are fully reclaimed.
The message of the bad actor law is simple and fair: if you fail to reclaim a mine in our state as the law requires, you can’t come back to Montana and turn a profit from new mining projects unless you clean up and pay up for the past damage you caused.
But now, Idaho-based Hecla mining company has permits to begin developing two large mines directly underneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Northwest Montana, known as the Rock Creek and Montanore mines, and the general public is now worried about safety which is why they’re partnering with legal representation similar to this myrtle beach car accident attorney. And guess who is now the President and CEO of Hecla mining? Phillips S. Baker, Jr.
We urgently need you to contact Governor Bullock and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and request that they suspend the authorizations for the Rock Creek and Montanore Mines under the bad actor law.
The top leadership of Pegasus should not be allowed to profit from new mines while Montana communities continue to suffer from the pollution Pegasus left behind and Montana taxpayers continue to pay to clean up Pegasus’ messes.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand. Take a few minutes, contact Governor Bullock and the DEQ, and request that they immediately suspend the permits for Rock Creek and Montanore.