Last week, the legislature passed SB 306, which would effectively repeal Montana’s ban on cyanide leach mining. SB 306 was introduced by Sen. Murphy at the request of the Montana Mining Association.
The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk. Governor Schweitzer needs to hear from you!
The repeal is against the will of the voters
In 1998, Montanans voted to approve I-137, a ban on new open-pit cyanide leach mines by 52% to 48%, and then reaffirmed the cyanide ban in 2004 (I-147) with an even stronger vote of 57%.
Montana’s record of cyanide leach mining is abysmal
Every major cyanide leach mine in the state has caused severe water pollution contaminating important drinking water supplies, trout streams, and agricultural lands!
Taxpayers paying millions to clean up cyanide mines
Open pit, cyanide-leach mines have left taxpayers with millions in clean-up costs. Roughly $13 million in taxpayer funds have been spent on clean-up at the Zortman Landusky Mine, with no end in sight. Another $8 million has been spent at Beal Mountain, with $42 million more needed there.
What it does & what’s at risk
SB 306 will allow new open pit mines to be permitted as long as the cyanide processing is done at a mine that had an operating permit when the ban was passed.
This would allow new open pit mines to be constructed in the headwaters of Rock Creek and the Blackfoot River, with the ore hauled to the Golden Sunlight Mine near Whitehall for cyanide leaching.
The Golden Sunlight mine has had dozens of cyanide spills, including one which forced the landowners to file suit against the company.
Your voice is needed, and you can make a difference!
Please call Governor Schweitzer at 406-444-3111 and ask him to veto SB 306. The Governor needs to hear from you!
For more information and talking points, read recent editorials and op-eds:
- Helena Independent Record editorial: Gov. Schweitzer should veto SB 306
- Missoulian editorial: We’ve said it before: No cyanide mining
- Billings Gazette op-ed: Listen to voters: Leave cyanide ban alone