“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…I won’t be fooled again.”
-President George W. Bush, 2006
Montana has been raped — in every sense of the word — by the mining industry for a century and a half. Anyone who doubts that need only look across our beautiful state at the ugly, dead, and polluting sites left behind when the mining barons took the gold and Montana got the shaft, as well as the tailings, the polluted groundwater, the streams devoid of life, the slag piles and the pits full of incredibly poisonous water.
Now, with the potential for an initiative that would prohibit the state from permitting mines that will require pollution treatment “in perpetuity,” the mining industry is once again trying to convince us that it is environmentally friendly, and, jeez, we shouldn’t be trying to stop them from creating perpetual pollution.
As reported late last week, the Montana Mining Association filed a lawsuit against Republican Attorney General Tim Fox, who determines legality for initiatives, and Republican Secretary of State Cory Stapleton, who certifies that the measure can appear on the ballot. They want the Montana Supreme Court to find I-186, the “Yes for Responsible Mining” initiative for which backers expect to gather the 25,600 necessary signatures this week, legally insufficient.
The Montana Mining Association’s Tammy Johnson claims “in general we think that this could portend a ban on future mining.” But that directly contradicts the schtick of Johnson and the various mining companies now trying to convince Montanans to stick new mines at the headwaters of the famed Smith River and under the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area. They have been spouting about their new and responsible mining methods.
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