MT Supreme Court approves Rock Cr. mine water permit

By Reader Staff

The legal battle over a water use permit for a proposed Montana silver and copper mine saw an about-face on Feb. 17, as the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the permit was lawfully administered.

The ruling overturns a 2019 district court opinion that “the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation failed to properly consider damage Hecla Mining Co’s Rock Creek Mine might do to the underground water supply,” the Missoulian reported. 

The Supreme Court justices ruled 5-2 in favor of re-issuing the permit.

The proposed Rock Creek Mine would be located near Noxon, Mont., bordering the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness. If approved in its entirety, the operation plans to discharge wastewater into the Clark Fork River, which flows into Lake Pend Oreille.

Conservation groups Clark Fork Coalition, Rock Creek Alliance, Earthworks and Montana Environmental Information Center have led the charge in opposing the mine, each listed as plaintiffs in the water permit suit.

“We’re disappointed in the court’s decision, but this decision applies to only one of the many harmful effects from the proposed Rock Creek Mine,” Bonnie Gestring of Earthworks told the Missoulian. “We will continue our work to protect the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness and the threatened fish and wildlife that find refuge there.”

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.