DEQ holds public scoping meeting on Black Butte Copper Mine - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

DEQ holds public scoping meeting on Black Butte Copper Mine

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A proposed mine creating controversy in Great Falls. Tonight, the department of environmental quality held a public scoping meeting, aimed at educating the public and getting feedback about the proposed black butte copper mine. 

This is a year long process to get the environmental impact statement completed. The Department of Environmental Quality is in the first phase of public scoping right now and there are a number of topics to be discussed.

“We are having these meetings and this public comment period to have folks help us out to help determine what issues we should be looking at, what are the most important issues to be looking at, and what are some alternatives we need to consider,” says Kristi Ponozzo.

Around 30 people spoke today and most were against the mine for its impacts to the drinking water in the area and its impacts it would have on the outdoor industry on the Smith River. Some were for the mine, as it creates jobs in the mining industry that some said at the meeting was a dying industry.

After this meeting, there are three more to be done just like it in Livingston, White Sulfur Springs, and in Helena.

They say that year deadline is going to be very challenging as this is a new mine and there are so many factors to take into consideration. But they say they will get it done.

“After we get all these public comments we will put together a scoping report. We will look at all those issues and analyze them in an environmental impact statement. we will put together a draft and that will go out to public comment as well,” says Ponozzo.

Once that new environmental impact statement goes through the same round of public meetings like the one that happened today, a final statement will be made and then an agency decision to go through or not to go through with the proposed black butte copper mine.

If you were unable to make the meeting and want to make comment about the black butte copper mine here is the email to send them to: deqtintinablackbuttecopperproject@mt.gov.

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