By Rob Chaney, Helena IR

In a reversal, Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality won’t press for “bad actor” sanctions against Hecla Mining Co. executive Phillips Baker for leaving unfinished reclamation work on several past gold mines.

Under former Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration, DEQ had attempted to use Montana’s Bad Actor law to prohibit Baker from working with Hecla to develop new copper and silver mines next to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in Lincoln County.

In the department’s brief to the court, DEQ attorney Sarah Clerget wrote that the election of Gov. Greg Gianforte and appointment of a new director of the agency prompted “a very careful look at the entire record of this case.”

“Most importantly, DEQ would prefer to address the problem of bad actors and achieve the goal of protecting Montana from them, through collaborative development of more comprehensive and current legislation applicable broadly, rather than litigation.”

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