Thursday, December 1, 2022


Group wants rollbacks of some IA voting restrictions; RSV, Flu, COVID: KY faces "Triple Threat" this winter; Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.


The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Fight Continues to Protect MT's Smith River from Mine


Friday, June 5, 2020   

HELENA, Mont. - Conservation groups battle on to protect one of Montana's most popular rivers from a proposed mine.

Yesterday, groups filed a lawsuit challenging state permits for the Black Butte Copper Mine, which would be located at the headwaters of the Smith River. Scott Bosse, Northern Rockies director for the group American Rivers, says it's unfortunate that they have to file a lawsuit in this case.

"But when a foreign mining company that's located 10,000 miles away wants to build a copper mine at the headwaters of our state's most cherished river," says Bosse, "and that mine would result in de-watered streams and permanent toxic pollution, we really don't have any other choice."

The Australian company Sandfire Resources plans to build the mine in the Sheep Creek Basin, about 19 miles from the Smith River and on one of its tributaries. Opponents are concerned it will threaten water quality and quantity for the Smith.

They also point out that Sandfire is using an experimental storage process for toxic waste, and say the Montana Department of Environmental Quality did not consider all the alternatives for this project.

Joe Sowerby owns the outfitting company Montana Flyfishing Connection, and has worked for 30 years on the river. He says there's no other river like the Smith.

"It needs to have people sticking up for that river," says Sowerby. "We need to make sure that it needs to stay as it is now. We can't let it get degraded."

Bosse notes the Smith River is important culturally and economically. He says the three-month spring fishing season on the river generates $10 million for the outdoor recreation economy.

"And that money is created in rural communities, like White Sulphur Springs," says Bosse. "So, we have a great thing going with the Smith River right now, and we don't want to mess it up with a new mine in its headwaters."

Disclosure: American Rivers contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Salmon Recovery, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
The gold dome on the Iowa Capitol has been gilded five times. The gold leaf covering the dome is 250,000th of an inch thick and is 23.75 karats. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…


Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …

Tom Oliver, center, receives the 2022 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service. (Bruce Carlson/AARP Washington)

Social Issues

A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …

Social Issues

Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with tabulation problems, which set off a discussion on whether to shake up the Democratic primary process. (Scoutori/Adobestock)

Social Issues

A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …


Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …


By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021