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Montana Measure to Boost Mine Cleanup Standards Fails

Advocates backing the measure, I-186, said it would have prevented mining companies from leaving behind permanent water pollution

HELENA — Montana voters have rejected a ballot initiative that would have increased cleanup standards for companies that plan to open new mines in the state.

The measure that failed in Tuesday’s election would have required developers to provide clear evidence in any new hard-rock mining proposal that the mine wouldn’t need the perpetual treatment of polluted water after operations end.

An industry-led campaign pushed to defeat it.

Five mining companies funneled cash and services to the Montana Mining Association to argue that the measure’s language was vague and would allow environmental groups to sue to block any future developments.

Wildlife and environmental advocates backing the measure said it would have prevented mining companies from leaving behind permanent water pollution and saddling the state’s taxpayers with the costs of cleanup.

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