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Mining Companies Sue Montana Over ‘Bad Actor’ Decision

The companies say DEQ officials are interpreting the law wrong

BILLINGS — Three subsidiaries of Hecla Mining Inc. are suing Montana over its decision that Hecla’s president is a “bad actor” who should pay for past cleanup costs before pursuing new mines.

Montanore Minerals Corp., Troy Mine Inc. and RC Resources asked a Lincoln County district judge Friday to block the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s ruling on Phillips Baker Jr.

Baker was previously an executive for Pegasus Gold Corp., which left a massive cleanup bill at its Montana mines after its 1998 bankruptcy.

Montanore and RC Resources want to develop copper and silver mines in northwestern Montana, and Troy Mine Inc. is in the final stages of cleanup of a mine that is no longer operating.

The companies say DEQ officials are interpreting the law wrong and they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a different mining company.

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