News & Features

Judge Vacates Water Discharge Permit for Montanore Mine

Judge ruled DEQ violated state and federal clean water laws in issuing a discharge permit to Hecla Mining Co.

HELENA — A judge has vacated a water discharge permit for a silver and copper mine that would tunnel beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Montana.

District Judge Kathy Seeley of Helena ruled Friday Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality violated state and federal clean water laws in issuing a discharge permit to Hecla Mining Co. for the Montanore Mine.

Seeley ruled the DEQ did not set adequate pollution restrictions and gave Hecla too long to meet the requirements.

Bonnie Gestring is the Northwest Program Director for Earthworks. She said Monday the decision means Hecla must comply with current environmental laws to better protect trout streams.

Hecla spokesman Luke Russell says the company is still reviewing the ruling. The order sends the matter back to the DEQ, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.