Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the proposed Montanore Evaluation Project. These comments are submitted on behalf of Earthworks, Save Our Cabinets, Montana Environmental Information Center, Clark Fork Coalition, Montana Trout Unlimited, and Defenders of Wildlife.
These comments address the Montanore Evaluation Project, an evaluation adit proposed for development adjacent to, and tunneling into, the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness – one of the first Wilderness Areas established by Congress. The Cabinet Mountains Wilderness represents just 4% of the Kootenai National Forest, yet this small, but important refuge, supplies some of the purest waters in the lower 48,1 and provides critical habitat for bull trout and grizzly bear – threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. At the outset, the DSEIS fails to recognize that Hecla and its CEO, Phillips S. Baker, are currently the subject of litigation by the State of Montana under Montana’s “bad actor” law.