Comments open for mine permit at Rock Creek

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

If you have an opinion on the proposed Rock Creek Mine, now is the time to make your voice heard. montanore_small5.2.pdf

With the Montana Department of Environmental Quality considering the issuance of a wastewater discharge permit to applicant RC Resources, the public has until Sept. 2 to file comments on the proposal. That deadline, however, may change if an extension request by conservation organization Rock Creek Alliance is granted. Since the documentation surrounding the proposed permit is very technical, Rock Creek Alliance director Mary Costello hopes to use the additional time to clarify the information for concerned residents.

“These extensions are often granted toward the end of the commenting period, so you never know whether or not you’ll get one,” she said.

A public hearing over the permit is scheduled for Sept. 1 from 6-8 p.m. at Noxon School in Noxon, Mont. Since Costello figures most Sandpoint residents aren’t keen on driving to Noxon for a public meeting, however, she hopes they’ll mail their comments instead. They can be sent to DEQ Permitting & Compliance Division, Water Protection Bureau, PO Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620 or emailed to [email protected]

In what’s shaping up to be a busy week for Rock Creek Alliance, the organization is also hosting its annual meeting from 5-8 p.m. Sept. 2 at Idaho Pour Authority. The event will feature an annual update and silent auction, plus a visit from Oregon brewery Ninkasi Brewing, which is supporting the organization through its Pints For A Cause program.

The potential environmental dangers are certainly on the public’s mind following the Environmental Protection Agency’s accidental corruption of the Animas River in Colorado with wastewater from an abandoned mine. While mining techniques have evolved since that Colorado mine closed, Costello said mining regulations have remained static.

“Even though that’s an old mine, the 1872 law is still in effect that ties the hands of land managers,” she said.

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