Daines calls on governor to fully approve Montanore project

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) called on Montana Governor Steve Bullock on Thursday to fully approve the Montanore project to create jobs and economic opportunity.

The Montanore project, at full production, is expected to create 450 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $12 million during the production phase of operations.

The Final Environmental Impact Statements for the Montanore project were recently completed after more than a decade, opening a path for the U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to issue records of decision that would approve the plan of operations and required permits for the project.

“We urge you to consider the benefits of a comprehensive approval for all the required permits and the benefits of the Montanore project to the local Northwest Montana community and our state,” Daines and Zinke said in a letter to Bullock. “Employing regulatory flexibility by your staff through a full permit approval will provide assurances the community and company require to move forward. The local community has waited a long time for the process to be completed. We respectfully request for you to prioritize this project and for MDEQ to issue a full ROD as expeditiously as possible so that this important project can proceed.”

A phased approval of the project is being considered by the MDEQ, but would not be consistent with the federal review and could jeopardize investments in the project while creating uncertainty around the project and the tax revenue and jobs it would support.

Daines has long worked with local, state and federal leaders in an effort to move the project’s permit process forward, touring the mine in August 2014. He also has remained in close consultation with local stakeholders regarding the project’s status.

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