Montana Judge Rejects State Approval of Copper Mine

A Montana court has found that the state’s approval of a copper mine in a location where rainbow trout and other fish spawn was “arbitrary, capricious, and unlawful.” The court determined that the mine would generate “millions of tons of toxic tailings and require the discharge of nitrogen-laden wastewater into Sheep Creek.” Yet the Montana Department of Environmental Quality failed to ensure the safe storage of the toxic tailings, failed to protect excessive nitrogen discharge, and failed to consider “reasonable alternatives to alleviate or avoid potential environmental harms.” The permit was challenged by plaintiffs Montana Trout Unlimited, Montana Environmental Information Center, Trout Unlimited, Earthworks, and American Rivers.