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MT Supreme Court overturns ruling which blocked permit for Creston water plant

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 12:01:15-04

There's another twist in the years-long legal battle over the operation of a Creston bottled water plant, with the Montana Supreme Court overturning a lower court ruling which had blocked permits.

Local residents and conservation groups have been fighting the plans of Montana Artesian Water Company to pump enough water to fill more than 1-billion bottles per year. The long fight has involved not just the company, but the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and even Flathead County.

Last year, a Lewis and Clark County judge had ruled in favor of the Flathead Lakers and Water for Flathead's Future, saying the DNRC had "erred" when it issued the permit.

But now, the Montana Supreme Court has decided the state did follow the rules for issuing the permit, even though there were questions on how DNRC considered impacts to the Flathead aquifer.

The ruling sends the dispute back to the lower court for reconsideration.