Save Our Smith

Smith River Mine Scoping Meeting Helena 6pm Monday Nov 6th

Smith River Mine Scoping Meeting Helena 6pm Monday Nov 6th

Tonight in Helena a boat rally along with the Helena DEQ Scoping Meeting at the Radisson Colonial Hotel 2301 Colonial Dr Helena MT tonight at 6pm

The boat rally is at 3pm around the capital. This event to show the strength sending a message to the DEQ and public how the fishing community feels about the threat of a Copper Mine in Montana and certainly in the Smith River drainage.

We hope to see you there.

Some interesting things from the Great Falls Scoping Meeting on October 30. John and I both attended along with 300 others.

The newspaper article from the Great Falls Tribune stated that there were several supporters that spoke, and in the gathering. Untrue. Only 2 comments were made from supporters of the cause. The balance was certainly against the Smith River Mine. Mayor Bob Kelly spoke about the concern for the Great Falls citizens and possible monetary loss from an accident that will affect the waters of the Missouri River below the Smith River. And he was concerned about the clean up efforts well after Tintina has vacated the site, maybe even generations after the mine has closed, or finished work. He stated that the DEQ should consider a larger reclamation bond in case all that Tintina has promised indeed fails. He wanted Great Falls to be “formally declared as having standing as an injured party and be able to seek and receive payment for reclamation and reparation of the damage that may occur to our water source.” He went on to say

“We will all be affected, we all know what runs downhill…

Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly

Other concerns outlined by the opponents included the stats about flailed copper mines. 92% of copper mines have had monumental watershed disasters. 100% of those mines promised to never have any problems. The economic boom that will affect White Sulfur Springs will pass. But the economic fails that will affect the recreation business in Montana will go on forever.

What are your concerns? Attend one of these scoping meetings and say something substantive. Don’t preach to the DEQ. That is not what these meetings are about. It is a scoping meeting to find out what the public would like studied by the DEQ in the EIS for the Black Butte Mining Project.

The permit application is available for the public to view at DEQ’s main office in Helena (1520 East 6th Avenue). The application may also be viewed by visiting DEQ’s website

Here is how you comment below

Scoping comments may be submitted at one of the public meetings, electronically, or by postal mail to the following address:
Craig Jones
Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901

Questions on the environmental review may also be directed to Craig Jones electronically ( or 406-444-0514. Comments must be submitted to DEQ no later than November 16, 2017.

DEQ will not accept comments that are threatening, defamatory, libelous, slanderous, or discriminatory in nature. DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities who wish to participate in the meeting. If you require an accommodation, please contact Jeni Garcin at 406-444-6469 or:

How to approach the DEQ

A comment on our Blog from reader Russ J. Well said Russ, and thanks!

One benefit of being an old geezer is that I’ve had the experience of attending EIS scoping meetings since their inception, meet (and fish with) DEQ people who sat on the panels at scoping meetings, and I even have enjoyed the friendship of and fished with a judge who had the opportunity to rule on two projects that ended in litigation.

So I’d like to offer some pointers to you anglers who plan to attend the Smith River meetings tonight and in the next week or two. And, initially, with Montana being Montana, it’s unfortunate that the mine proposal is located in a depressed economic area and employment opportunities in well-paying jobs will become as big a focal point as environmental concerns, so emotions will run high.

Also, as I’ve watched the political climate both statewide and nationally go completely off the rails and turn ugly, I assume these meetings will too at some point. I hope the following suggestions will be of help to the conservationist side of the issue. My side.

First, remember that the members of the panel in front are seeking public opinion and concerns to use in forming an environmental statement to present to the administration of the DEQ- the people actually making the final recommendations for permits. And that panel is comprised of people with degrees in environmental science not political science. As my retired DEQ friend told me, he never met a student of environmental science whose future goal was to enable the rape and pillage of America. So don’t insult them give them facts and opinions they can use in their report and refrain from negativity. Act informed.

Second, remember that, as with most issues of this importance, the final decision to allow or disallow the mine, either way, will be litigated in court. As my judge friend related to me – the relevant testimony of the most obscure citizen and the most visible official must carry equal weight in the eyes of a court entrusted with a legal decision. So keep the panel on your side by presenting strong informed opinions.
Sorry (as always) that this comment is so long. Hope it’s of use. Go protect the Smith, Mark and John. My grandkids will appreciate you as I do. Thanks

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  • you need to be careful of these canadian companies they love to develop and sneak out in the middle of the night

  • be careful canadian ming companies they love to develop and sneak out in the middle of the night

  • Sorry I can’t attend the Helena meeting. Sucks getting old. Maybe these talking points could be of value to someone there.
    1. Given the mine is underground, could the activity be a threat to or possibly affect the biggest aquifer in the western U.S., the Madison Aquifer, which is less than 1000′ in depth in places. This is the the water source for thousands of montanans and contamination would be catastrophic.
    2. Underground mining requires a huge amount of water. The Smith of late has run at critically low flows except during runoff and early summer compared to past decades. How will year round water draw offs affect this?
    Do good guys

  • Thanks for representing many of us who couldn’t make it yesterday!! Ironically, I was busy helping to keep waterfowl off of a well-known copper mine.

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