Troubled Montanore Mine Faces Overwhelming Public Opposition
Submitted by: HR Literary Services
Libby MT (OPENPRESS) February 27, 2012 -- The troubled Mines Management, Inc. Montanore project, a proposed silver and copper mine located in the Kootenai National Forest in Libby, Mont., has hit another major roadblock. Written comments from the public sector indicate massive, broad-based opposition to the environmentally destructive plan.
Alternative One, a Northwest Montana grassroots organization, obtained copies of public comments submitted to state and federal agencies that are reviewing the Montanore proposal through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The entire body of public input consists of more than 47,000 letters from private citizens, government agencies, public officials, businesses and environmental organizations. Upon a detailed review of these comments, Alternative One determined that more than 45,000 individuals oppose the Montanore Mine project, while just 26 are in favor of it.
In the past, Spokane-based Mines Management CEO Glenn Dobbs has attempted to cast dispersion on those who oppose his project, comparing the anti-Montanore faction to "radical eco-anarchist movements[s]" in a December 28, 2011 statement appearing I n the Libby press. He also likened the alternativeone.org website to "the Manifesto concocted by the psychotic eco-terrorist, Ted Kaczynski."
However, the fact that citizens of all 50 states and more than 40 foreign countries including Spain, Bulgaria, Peru and Luxemburg have officially added their voices to the growing Montanore opposition places the anti-mine contingent firmly in the mainstream.
Although some of the comments were clearly inspired by the public outreach of major environmental organizations, many of these letters incorporated personally composed anti-Montanore sentiments.
Many opposing comments contain highly detailed analyses of the mine project and reflect a comprehensive understanding of Montanore's more than 1,000 page proposal. Hydrology and geology experts have weighed in against the proposal, as have PhDs, educators, and business owners.
Points of contention common to many of the anti-mine letters include water consumption and pollution, destruction of wildlife and fish habitats, and the size and safety of the tailings impoundment. The Montanore plan would place a permanent tailings dump measuring two miles long and towering 37 stories high in the midst of the Kootenai National Forest.
All of the pro-mine commentary was submitted by residents living within 100 miles of the proposed Montanore site. Aside from the Commissioners of an adjacent county, none of the businesses or public officials writing in support of the mine is based outside of Lincoln County, Montana.
Fully 38 percent of all letters from residents living within 100 miles of the mine site express opposition, demonstrating that even locals in a county where many are unemployed recognize compelling problems with the proposal.
According to one Libby resident, "Temporary jobs are not a good tradeoff for forever polluted water." Another writes, "I urge you to refuse Montanore permission to despoil our land and water."
One local citizen reminds the permitting agencies that "the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness and its watersheds is the gem of northwest Montana and the quality of life they provide is one major reason why so many people are willing to struggle to makes ends meet so they can stay in this area. [Montanore] will put part of our quality of life in jeopardy."
All of the environmental organizations that submitted comments, from Rock Creek Alliance to Earthworks, reaffirm their commitments to fighting the project both in the near and long terms.
EPA rated the Montanore proposal "E-02," or Environmentally Objectionable. Comments from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers highlight major deficiencies in the mine plan and raise objections to proposed water consumption, pollution, and damage to critical wildlife and fish habitat.