HELENA – The Kootenai National Forest and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality have each issued a Record of Decision for the Montanore Project, a proposed copper and silver underground mine located about 18 miles south of Libby near the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana. The KNF, which issued a Draft ROD in March 2015, has finalized its decision and provided rationale for the selected mine and transmission line alternatives. The DEQ issued its decision on the amendments to provisions pertaining to the Evaluation Phase of the Montanore Project.
“After working extensively with the cooperating and participating agencies, and releasing the Joint Final EIS last December, I am pleased to have the opportunity to sign the Record of Decision for the Montanore Project," said KNF Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage. “The EIS and Record of Decision are supported by extensive studies, and by a great deal of work on the part of our employees and our contractor. There is still a lot of additional work that needs to be done to meet the various mitigation requirements, including the terms and conditions of the Biological Opinion.”
DEQ and the KNF identified Mine Alternative 3 and Transmission Line Alternative D-R as preferred alternatives in the December 2015 Joint Final Environmental Impact Statement. This alternative has been identified as the selected alternative in the KNF ROD. The Final KNF ROD can be downloaded as a PDF from the Forest Service’s web page (http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/kootenai/landmanagement/projects) or requested as a CD. The KNF ROD also demonstrates consistency with the Kootenai National Forest Land Management Plan.
“This has been a robust analysis of a challenging site,” said DEQ Director Tom Livers. “Our decision centers on our legal directive to protect high quality waters in Montana, in this case the impacted streams in the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness.”
DEQ has finalized its decision and provided rationale in a ROD. The DEQ ROD can be downloaded as a PDF from DEQ’s web page (http://deq.mt.gov/Land/hardrock/Montonore-Mine-Project). The DEQ ROD documents DEQ’s decisions on the following: 1) the amendments to the provisions of Operating Permit No. 00150 pertaining to the Evaluation Phase of the Montanore Project to make those provisions consistent with Mine Alternative 3; 2) the Certificate of Compliance for the transmission line (Alternative D-R); and 3) the air quality permit for the Montanore Project.
Decisions by other agencies that cooperated in the environmental review will be documented in separate decision documents.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT
DEQ Public Policy Director
Kootenai National Forest Project Coordinator