Montana Environmental Information Center

Clean and healthful. It's your right, our mission.

Tell Bullock and DEQ to Halt Unlawful, Destructive Mining in Wilderness

Contact Bullock and the DEQ

Dear Governor Bullock and Director Livers



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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.

Speak up for our Smith River!

Contact the DEQ

This petition is now closed.

End date: Nov 17, 2017

Signatures collected: 330

330 signatures

Montana is renowned for its pristine rivers, wild trout, and spectacular scenery. But the Smith River tops the list. It’s the only river in Montana that requires a permit because the public demand to experience this extraordinary place is so high.

A foreign owned mining company wants to build a copper sulfide mine at the headwaters, putting this river at risk from long-term water pollution, particularly acid mine drainage – which is highly toxic to fish.

The State of Montana is taking public comment until Nov. 16 on the scope of issues that should be considered in the environmental review. It’s urgent that you take a few minutes, and tell the Montana DEQ that it needs to conduct a rigorous review of the long-term harm that threatens our Smith River!

A small Canadian company, Tintina Resources, has partnered with Australian mining firm Sandfire Resources and applied to develop a large copper mine directly adjacent to and underneath Sheep Creek at the headwaters of the Smith River in central Montana. The project, known as the Black Butte Copper Mine, is located approximately 20 miles north of White Sulphur Springs in central Montana.

The proposed mine is particularly a concern because the mine will have to dig into sulfide minerals which, when exposed to air and water, can react to form sulfuric acid in a process known as acid mine drainage. Acid mine drainage is highly toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

Tintina is also planning a major expansion from its original application materials. Tintina has purchased thousands of acres of additional mineral interests in the Smith River basin, stretching from its original project proposal to the west, and much closer to the Smith River. This expansion could turn the west side of the Little Belt Mountains into an industrialized area.

Groundwater pumping from mining activities could potentially lower the water table, and create a “cone of depression” that extends to the Sheep Creek alluvium – posing a threat to adjacent stream flows. The Smith River, and Sheep Creek, already suffer from low flows during most years, putting pressure on downstream water users and preventing the fishery from reaching its potential.

Groundwater that is captured in the underground mine workings will contain arsenic and other toxic substances that pose a serious threat to water quality.

Please take a few minutes, and tell the Montana DEQ that it needs to conduct a rigorous review of the long-term harm that threatens our Smith River!

24 Hours to Stop Montana Coal Exports!

Contact Washington State Officials

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jul 28, 2017

Signatures collected: 326

326 signatures

Lighthouse Resources, the owner of a massive coal strip mine in Montana, wants to open North America’s largest coal export facility in Washington State. If built, this port would handle enough coal that when burned would generate up to 88 million tons of additional C02 pollution every year, equivalent to the discharges from 18 million passenger vehicles driven for one year. Lighthouse Resources is currently seeking a water pollution permit from the Washington Department of Ecology (WDE) that would allow the project to move forward. We need you to take a few minutes, and tell WDE to deny the permit and to stop this project.

Since its inception, Lighthouse Resources’ proposal to build the Millennium Bulk Terminal export facility has drawn unprecedented opposition. Over 250,000 public comments have flooded in opposing the project. One or more of those comments were likely from you. Thank you!

But Lighthouse Resources is determined to move forward with this terrible proposal, and we need you to speak out once again. A recent environmental review of the project found that the increase in coal train traffic would have significant and unavoidable impacts on public health, the environment, and the climate.

Please tell the Washington Department of Ecology to deny Lighthouse Resources’ application for a pollution permit today.


Helena City Council: Act on Climate

Contact the Commission

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jun 27, 2017

Signatures collected: 54

54 signatures

Following the disastrous move by Donald Trump to exit the Paris Climate Agreement, states and cities across the nation are stepping up, recognizing that it’s critical to act on the local level with an absence of leadership at the national level. Here in Montana, the mayors of both Bozeman and Missoula have recently agreed to abide by the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Now, Helena City Commissioner Andres Haladay has introduced a resolution to add the City of Helena to the growing chorus of voices that want to act on climate. We need your help to persuade the Helena City Commission to support the resolution unanimously. Please take a few minutes, contact the Commission, and let Commissioners and the Mayor know you support the resolution.

The science is clear. Montana and Helena are already experiencing the negative effects of a changing climate, from less snowpack in our mountains, to hotter and drier summers, to less water in our rivers and streams. Wildfires have become more prevalent, threatening Helena’s principle municipal water supply. Streams are getting hotter – and are closed to fishing earlier and earlier – with direct effects on our outdoor recreation economy. Water is dwindling for farmers and ranchers. We cannot let this cycle continue.

Fortunately, we have solutions. Over the past few years, the United States has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector as cleaner and cheaper energy options become available. Montana’s clean energy economy is growing, and could become a powerhouse provided the right policies are in place. Meanwhile, investments in energy efficiency have successfully reduced energy consumption here in Montana and across the U.S., with more gains to be seen.

The Helena City Council needs to understand why it is critical that it join with other communities across Montana and the nation to show leadership on climate change.

Please take a minute to contact the Commission and attend the Commission Hearing on Monday, June 26th at 6 p.m., to show your support for Helena’s leadership on climate change.

Want to send a personalized note to the commissioners? Here’s their contact information:

Thank you Governor Bullock!

Since early January MEIC has repeatedly asked you to contact legislators and Governor Bullock about bills that threaten the environment. Thanks to your efforts many bills were defeated during the session but many of the worst bills made it all the way to the Governor’s desk. Last week, Governor Bullock vetoed the final three bills that threatened clean water, clean air, and a healthy climate. Montana’s environment is better off because Governor Bullock was willing to draw a line in the sand. He vetoed nine anti-environmental ideas from the legislature. Montanans are fortunate to have him at the helm.
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Thank You, Senator Tester

Thank Senator Tester

This petition is now closed.

End date: May 14, 2017

Signatures collected: 221

221 signatures

The news out of Washington D.C. just seems to get worse by the day. That’s why we are asking you to do something different. Please take a minute and contact Senator Jon Tester to thank him for his continued efforts to successfully fight climate change and protect taxpayers. Today the U.S. Senate refused to overturn the common sense Obama era “Methane and Natural Gas Waste Rule.” The rule was adopted to prevent the valuable and highly potent greenhouse gas, methane, from being vented, flared or leaked by oil and gas companies operating on public and tribal lands. These companies release this pollutant during the extraction process instead of capturing it and putting it to good use. The rule forces companies to capture those emissions instead of wasting $330 million worth of this public resource each year.

On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate tried to overturn the rule using the obscure Congressional Review Act. This vote would also have prevented the Bureau of Land Management from ever adopting a similar rule in the future without express Congressional approval. Senator Tester and 50 other U.S. Senators (all of the Democrats and three  Republicans), voted NO! That’s good news for taxpayers and the environment.

Senator Tester also showed leadership by being the first Montana Senator to support eliminating the extra fee that the Bonneville Power Administration places on Montana energy – including wind energy – that is exported to west coast markets. Renewable energy advocates in the West have been working for years to eliminate this extra fee. The Montana Public Service Commission supports the elimination of the fee. The 2017 Montana House of Representatives passed a resolution by Rep. Zolnikov (R-Billings) supporting the elimination of this fee. Now Senator Tester has weighed in and asked BPA to eliminate the extra fee as well. That’s good news for Montana’s wind energy.

Please take a minute and tell Senator Tester “Thank You.” You can use our online petition form, or reach his D.C. office at (202) 224-2644. His leadership on clean energy, as well as fighting climate change and protecting taxpayers, deserves our appreciation. While you’re at it, call Senator Daines at (202) 224-2651 and ask why he’s not standing up for Montanans on these important issues.

Contact the Governor – We Need Vetoes!

The Montana Legislature is in its final week, and several bad bills are heading to the Governor. The Governor is making his decision RIGHT NOW on whether to sign them into law or veto these terrible bills. Below is a quick and easy list of bills — contact the Governor and request vetos. Please help fight for our right to a clean and healthful environment. Pick one or do all four. However much you decide to do will help make a difference.

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