(U.S. Congress) — Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke this week pushed the U.S. Forest Service to finalize an important document and advance a decades-old permitting process for the Rock Creek Mine in northwest Montana.
In a letter to Kootenai National Forest Supervisor Chris Savage, the Montana congressional delegation encouraged the Forest Service to finalize the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in a timely manner. The SEIS must be finalized before the Rock Creek Mine project can move forward in the permitting process.
“The permitting process is a necessary step towards ensuring that the project’s proposed operations are conducted in a way that conforms to all relevant state and federal regulations and is responsive to public concerns ,” the delegation wrote. ” The timely completion of this process is necessary to provide certainty to the mining company’s planning efforts and to fully engender the public’s trust and confidence in the Agency’s permitting process.”
In the letter, the delegation also asked the Forest Service to provide an estimated timeline for when the SEIS will be finalized.
The SEIS is needed to respond to concerns that are a result of a 2010 federal court decision between the proposed mine and the Forest Service.
The permitting process for the proposed copper and silver mine in Sanders County began in 1987.