Judge tosses out Hecla Mining lawsuit

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Hecla Mining Company suffered another setback this week in its efforts to set up new mines in western Montana.

The Associated Press reports District Judge Mike Menahan in Helena tossed out a lawsuit filed by the mining company. The lawsuit was an effort to clean up the company’s status as a bad actor because of its associations Pegasus Mining, a failed company that left Montana holding a $35 million environmental clean-up bill.

The biggest connection between the two mining companies is Philip Baker Jr., CEO of Hecla and formerly the CFO of Pegasus. The state of Montana argues that unless Hecla compensates the state for $35 million, it cannot pursue several planned mines in western Montana.

Menahan’s ruling is a victory for conservation groups in both Idaho and Montana. Advocates argue that both states face environmental risks because of the mining pollutants that would flow from Montana to Idaho through its shared waterways.

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