To the editor:
There’s an old saying that, “If it can’t be grown or raised, it must be mined.” And in Montana — where mining is among our largest economic drivers and our state motto is Oro y Plata (gold and silver) — mining plays a critical role in sustaining communities and families across Montana.
I-186, the misleading initiative that claims to promote “responsible” mining, is backed by a coalition of out-of-state environmental groups, and if successful in November, would stop future mines.
The proponents of this initiative are misleading Montanans with vague rhetoric and inaccurate claims that our clean water is at risk. But with our existing strict environmental and permitting regulations, high bonding requirements that are administered by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and state-of-the-art technological advances, we already have an abundance of environmental safeguards in place that effectively protect our water resources. I-186 is duplicative, unnecessary, and aimed at trying to shut down the future of mining in Montana.
Montana mining contributes over $40 million in annual tax revenues. These dollars help pay for teachers and schools, law enforcement, and many other necessary community services. If these tax revenues dwindle, who will be left to pay these tax dollars? If we expect to earnestly count on tax revenues, we need to promote healthy industry. When our state’s businesses prosper, we all do. I-186 will hurt Montana taxpayers and our economy. That’s why I’m voting “no” on I-186 in November.
—Rep. Becky Beard
House District 80