Rep. Greg Gianforte attends Hecla presentation in Libby

Print Article

Rep. Greg Gianforte, foreground, attends a presentation given by Luke Russell, left background, at Hecla Mining Company in Libby Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Russell is vice president of external affairs for Hecla. (John Blodgett/The Western News)

Rep. Greg Gianforte was in Libby Wednesday to attend a late-morning presentation at Hecla Mining Company’s office on Highway 2.

The meeting was part of the congressman’s effort “to see on the ground what’s happening” in the state he was recently elected to represent in Washington, D.C.

Luke Russell, Hecla vice president of external affairs, got Gianforte up to speed on the company’s past, present and proposed mining projects in the area, including the reclamation underway at Troy Mine and the status of proposed mining development at Rock Creek and Montanore mines.

In discussing the latter two projects, Russell noted the permitting, regulatory and court hurdles the company has faced in moving forward and specified some areas in which it would like to see reform — items in which Gianforte indicated he would seek to affect change.

“We are the treasure state, but we can’t get at our treasure,” Gianforte said. “I believe we can develop natural resources and protect the environment both.”

One of the issues for which Russell said reform is key is the permitting process, which Gianforte said needs more accountability.

“When permitting can take two decades, the consequence is not jobs,” he said, acknowledging that “the answer to every permit should not be ‘yes’” but that the goal should be to “get to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ faster.”

Another issue raised was the Equal Access to Justice Act, which was enacted in 1980 to reimburse legal costs for groups and individuals who successfully challenge federal projects in court.

Gianforte said the act “is a good thing, it’s just empowered these environmental extremists to shut down every project” and has become a “funding mechanism” for them.

“I don’t have a specific proposal yet” to fix it, he said. “(Meetings such as) this is where I’m seeking input from.”

At the end of Wednesday’s presentation Gianforte noted that his recent assignments to the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — both of which he said he “pushed hard to get on” — put him in a good position to address Hecla’s concerns.

Print Article

Read More Front Page Slider

Nagode ready for next adventure

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News After 38 years of teaching music and 22 years with the Libby Public Schools, Brenda Nagode still loves her job, but feels it is time to focus on family and finding out what her passions are outside o...

Comments

Read More

Aspiring opera singer, Libby teen to perform on famous Australian stage

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News Mikalyn Zeiler, a Libby High School soon-to-be-senior with dreams of singing in operas, will perform July 21 at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia, alongside dozens of aspiring young vocalis...

Comments

Read More

Woman convicted of animal cruelty found with goats, cats

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News A Lincoln County woman found guilty last June on eight felonies and a misdemeanor for animal cruelty faces alleged violations of her suspended sentence. Cathie Warren was sentenced June 6, 2017, to ...

Comments

Read More

Libby couple grow hobby garden into small-scale farm

June 12, 2018 at 5:00 am | Western News Bonnie and Rudy Geber, in 2011, bought a 20-ish acre plot of land off Highway 37, northeast of Jennings, not intending to farm it. They wanted an off-grid, self-built home of their own, they said, in...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 293-4124
311 California Ave.
Libby, MT 59923

©2018 The Western News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X