MISSOULA – The Clark Fork Coalition is celebrating an important legal victory which the group believes will block development of the controversial Rock Creek Mine in Northwest Montana.
The Kootenai National Forest Supervisor signed the “Record of Decision” last summer, giving Hecla Mining subsidiary RC Resources permission to do further exploration of the extensive copper and silver deposits in the Rock Creek watershed northeast of Noxon and the Bull River.
That decision would have allowed the company to drill just over a mile into the mountain to prove the mine’s viability.
A Lewis and Clark County District Court judge overturned the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation water use permit last week.
The judge faulted the DNRC for ignoring evidence that groundwater pumping would have degraded several streams.
Clark Fork Coalition Executive Director Karen Knudsen is calling it a “victory” for the Cabinets and “all Montanans”.