Montana voters are so far saying no to a ballot initiative to consider an initiative that would require new hard rock mines to provide additional evidence that their operations won’t require permanent water treatment.
Early numbers are out in just a handful of counties, with 122,624 of ballots counted.
After the polls closed at 8 p.m. early numbers have so far, show 54% of voters are saying no to the initiative while 46% of voters have said yes.
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Initiative 186 was originally placed on the ballot to require the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to deny a mine an operating permit unless the applicant shows “clear and convincing evidence” their plan will prevent water pollution, without the need for “perpetual treatment” of acid mine drainage or other contaminants.
Dave Galt is Executive Director of Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs, the committee opposing the initiative. He previously told MTN News that opponents see the measure as an attack on mining in the state.
“We think the people of Montana are being asked to vote for something that’s being sold as for clean water, and it really isn’t anything about clean water,” he said.
However, I-186 supporters point to cases where the state has had to pay for years of water treatment at abandoned mines. The measure drew strong opposition from the Montana Mining Association and companies operating metal mines, which have funded the majority of the campaign against the initiative.
Meanwhile, the campaign in support of I-186 was led by conservation groups.
Information by Jonathon Ambarian – MTN News