Vote to Protect Clean Water and Ensure Responsible Mining in Montana

On Election Day, November 6, Montanans will have the opportunity to make a powerful statement in support of clean water by voting YES on I-186, known as the Requirements for Permits and Reclamation Plans of New Hard Rock Mines Initiative. If passed, the initiative will hold mining companies accountable and ensure that they don’t leave behind toxic messes for others to clean up.

When mines go bankrupt without adequate reclamation plans, Montana taxpayers are often left holding the bag–shelling out millions of dollars to clean up acids and heavy metals left behind by modern irresponsible mining practices. Toxic pollution from mines poses a threat to drinking water and public health, damages fisheries, and requires treatment for generations.

In the video above, Orvis’s vice chairman, Dave Perkins, explains why he supports I-186, walking the walk of Orvis’s conservation ethic. Dave lives in Wolf Creek, near the famed Missouri River, and he is passionate about protecting water quality. Join Dave by voting YES on I-186.

Click here to learn more about I-186

28 thoughts on “Vote to Protect Clean Water and Ensure Responsible Mining in Montana”

  1. I have traveled to Montana 20+ years times, in the last 30 years, with my family to fly fish and other activities. If I-186 does not pass we will chose Idaho, Wyoming or other equally good spots to spend our money.

    1. Hi Bill ….. can you give me some specific locations where the mine wastes are entering streams? I’m a retired Civil Engineer and long time Orvis customer and avid fly fisherman.

    2. Good because if this passes it will put a lot of people out of work, all this is based off mining in the 50 and 60s we have made a big change over the years so none of this kind of stuff happens again. I live in Montana and I work for a mine that set the standards for clean mining.

    3. Good… Maybe you should do a little research on Mining and what standards they are already held to. Last time I checked Idaho and Wyoming are also Mining States. Take your fishing trip to New York…

    4. Sorry bro, the thousands of jobs lost from an effective ban on mining here is not worth your 5 grand in tourist money every ten years. Take a moment to think how mining got you to Montana and how your gear is all mined from the ground. If you can’t figure it out, there is always California. It’s highly regulated and also very polluted.

    5. Just so you know this bill is not for this exactly. It’s too stop mining expansion and much more. We already have laws to protect our water. This ad is a lie and scam

    6. Sir,
      If you have come here for 20 years and fly fished, you know how pristine our water is. Montana has law and regulations in place to protect our water from pollution from mines. The standards are very high and are working as expected.
      What is being shown on TV are the remains of mines from long ago when regulations were practically nonexistent. It is no longer the case.
      I invite you to go to the Stillwater mine, as an example, and see how well it protects the environment.

  2. I-186 is an effective ban on all new mining including expansions of existing mines. It states that the DEQ cannot approve permits unless the company can prove that there will not be any pollution. Even if the DEQ says the “clear and convincing evidence” is sufficient, these groups will sue to stop all permits because the law doesn’t define this. They will claim that the clear and convincing evidence isn’t absolute proof. For example, the Black Butte Copper project has submitted geochemistry studies that demonstrate that there are enough carbonates (limestone) in the rock there to prevent acid rock drainage. These studies or tests are how the predictions are made. The environmentalists will try to claim they have evidence that the predictions didn’t work at some past mine for the court. But maybe the legislature can pass another law that prevents courts from stopping DEQ permits. Trout Unlimitted always tries to say that some other states have some similar law. But the environmentalists tried to get the legislature in Colorado to pass this same ban this last year, but they failed. They were successful a couple decades ago through the legislature in Wisconsin, but the current legislature there removed the ban this year.
    The Mineral Policy Center (Yes for Responsible Mining) has always had the goal of getting hardrock mining banned in the United States. This isn’t just a Montana thing. Yes for responsible mining is the Mineral Policy Center (Earthworks) with David Brooks & Tom Reed. Their address is 1612 K ST., NW, Suite 904, Washington, D.C., 20006. If this organization was foreign, they’d be labeled a terrorist group for trying to limit the production of our vital natural resources and kill our economy. They claim it will provide stricter environmental controls. These so called stricter environmental controls are a deceptive campaign using things that Montana already has to disguise this mining ban. Vote No on I-186!

  3. I am glad you are not coming back Bill. We need jobs more than your presence in our state. We have mined for over 100 years and have had few problems despite having no regulations in the beginning. Please stay away from our state and take your environmental friends with you. Montana needs high paying jobs and taxable income. We don’t need environmentalists in any sense. We have laws on the books to protect our streams already.

  4. I simply don’t understand why you would be willing to upset this States economy. This initiative is very tricky, #13 in particular. Stillwater Mine supports this 6th, 7th and 8th generation Montanan family.

  5. Trout Unlimited’s radio add is full of shit too. I’m surprised that Brooks hasn’t died from e coli from all the shit he spits out!!

  6. I’m amazed at the lack of appreciation the public has in Montana’s very robust regulatory system governing current mining activities in Montana. All the examples of legacy issues from mining highlighted by the proponents of the initiative date from times before these stringent regulations were in place. Current operations, and proposed operations, are well run, well regulated, and well bonded for reclamation after mining is complete. I-186 spreads a very seductive, yet extremely misleading, message about the state of mining practices in Montana. Montana’s strict non-degradation standards for industrial use of water are more than adequate to ensure the days of serious water pollution due to current and future mining are over. I-186 contains a number of vague undefined terms, crafted to entice votes, but which leave large gaps in our understanding of what legislation based on this initiative might look like. At best, passage of the initiative ensures a great deal of litigation and certain delay and obstruction of both new mining projects and amendments to current mining projects, costing Montana many good paying jobs and much economic benefit to the state. Make no mistake about it — this initiative is about stopping responsible mining in Montana, not achieving it. Please do not vote for this misleading initiative.

    1. Jerry,
      David Brookes assured me that if DEQ approves Black Butte, that there should be no problem in permitting you. I am taking up offers, of $100. I want to gather 1000 people to bet David $100 that he will litigate against the DEQ or Black Butte, or some way to stop it. If he wins the bet, he gets $100,000. If he loses, we all get $100. Think he will take it?

  7. What a crock. As a fifth generation Montanan, and an avid hunter/fisher/hiker I know that that this is just another attempt by the NIMBY class to make Montana their private playground. Yes, there are a few mines left over from the 1800’s that were not properly remediated, but this is minor compared to the natural acidic runoff of many sulfide bearing rock formations. Furthermore, any existing or new mines are subject to extremely strict regulation – In many cases mine discharge water is cleaner than the waters upstream. I-137 was the first nail, this just just incremental next step. Perhaps Mr. Perkins should just move away.

  8. Mining was virtually unregulated for more than 100 years, with thousands of mines being the mainstay of Montana’s settlement and economy all those decades. If the I-186 rhetoric were true, how can it be our water, living conditions, and scenery are among the best in the nation? How could it be a fishing destination?

    About 20 mines operated cyanide mills around Helena from 1894 until WWII. Even more had stamp mills using mercury amalgamation for another twenty years. The millions of gallons of unregulated and uncontained effluent from them drained into Last Chance Gulch, Silver Creek, and Prickly Pear Creek for decades. No one got sick or died in all the years during or since. And yet the valley of our capital city remains so fertile and attractive, environmental radicals and supporting bureaucrats choose to live there!

  9. Vote NO on 186. Montana has well over 200 abandoned mines and is one of the cleanest states in our republic. This is an outside effort by competitors to shut down mining in our state. Our state was founded on mining and agriculture, not fly fishing. Shame on Orvis for outsourcing their gear to China and promoting an agenda that takes advantage of our ballot initiative system with dark money. 3-7-77 big mtn.

  10. Since its founding in 1942, the United Steelworkers has worked together to ensure safer workplaces, better wages and brighter futures for our children. We fight every day for good jobs and a clean environment because we know that we do not have to choose one over the other.

    This fight continues today. Montana communities have been built on products Steelworkers make and the elements we mine. But our communities are under attack now as groups work to advance an anti-mining agenda with the upcoming Ballot Initiative 186.

    The Montana Legislative Services has already declared that this ballot initiative has several ambiguous sections and undefined or ill-defined terms and contains conflicting legal standards that would lead to litigation and prevent mining.

    Mining today is not the dirty and destructive process of decades ago. The proponents of I-186 ignore the fact that Montana already has some of the world’s strictest environmental protections when it comes to mine permits. In the past 30 years, 35 new state and federal laws have been enacted to ensure that mining companies operate responsibly.

    Steelworkers know about safe and responsible hard rock mine operations. Our members at the Sibanya-Stillwater mine helped to develop a Good Neighbor Agreement with the mine operator and the community to ensure that the mine provides economic benefit while protecting the surrounding land and water.

    If passed, I-186 will have serious repercussions for the future of Montana’s mining industry and its communities.

    The economic impact of the Montana mining industry reaches across the state. According to a study conducted by the University of Montana, mining employs some 12,300 workers and generates nearly $200 million in annual revenue for state and local governments. These vital funds support education and local infrastructure and provide critical public safety resources.

    According to the study, “if three mines currently under consideration – the Rock Creek, Montanore, and Black Butte mines – were to be successfully developed and operated, the economy would stand to gain more than 3,000 jobs and $450 million per year in revenue.”

    If I-186 were to pass, these jobs and this economic potential would disappear.

    Montana working families and our communities cannot afford I-186. That is why I urge all Montana voters to stand with the United Steelworkers and vote No on I-186. By standing together, we can ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren.

  11. As a Montana resident, I have been excited to read the public debate going on, including the well-represented dual sets of opinions which all state voters received. As a good Orvis customer, I am massively disappointed that none of that debate nor the balance in the debate is presented in Orvis’s statement. Instead of one rich man trying to influence all others, it would have been great if he had asked Montana residents for their viewpoints and then shared those with all of your customers. Maybe he would have learned something in the process, before he said what he thought. But if you have enough money, that’s not necessary.

    I have still not decided how I will vote on Tuesday, but I am less likely to support one rich guy who’s trying to push others around with his money. The only way I can express that is to cease to be your good customer. I’m outta here.

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