A heartfelt thank you to Montana's Governor Bullock, who recently took the hatchet to SB 347, a terrible bill that would have allowed mining companies to divert unlimited amounts of water from Montana rivers and streams.
The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Chas Vincent (R-Libby), was a gift, wrapped in a big red bow, for the mining industry — particularly underground mines. To keep the underground tunnels dry during mining, the mines pump out groundwater, and lower the water table. This eliminates water from the overlying streams and rivers that rely on that groundwater for flows through the year.
Montana's nondegradation law keeps that in check by preventing dewatering over a certain numeric point. SB 347 would have chucked the numeric standards, and put in vague language that would make it difficult to protect Montana's famous trout streams and the downstream water rights holders who rely on that water.
Many thanks to Governor Bullock for standing up for Montana's rivers and streams.