By Josh Margolis, Hi-Line Today
HAYS, Mont. (NMB) – The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hosted a public meeting on Tuesday evening both virtually and at locations throughout the Fort Belknap Reservation about a proposed mining exploration project near Zortman.
The project is proposed by Luke Ployhar on private land at the former Zortman Mine.
Fort Belknap Council President Jeff Stiffarm provided an opening statement, saying it is the Tribes’ stance to oppose this project, citing pollution caused by previous mining efforts.
“Basically, because of what happened in the past. Nothing has changed. The taxpayers have been paying for the mistake up in the mountains forever. And we’re going to see that happen with the new mining that’s proposed. DEQ and Luke Ployhar are worried more about money than they are about people’s lives. And it’s our stance here on Fort Belknap to be concerned about people’s livelihood, our lives, the water that runs off the mountains up there that affects our cultural grounds that we have. We have Sundance grounds, we have powwow grounds up there.”
Whitney Bausch of the DEQ provided an overview of the project and said this is an exploration project, which is different from mining.