Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) took an unprecedented step last month in its efforts to block the opening of the Rock Creek and Montanore mines in Sanders and Lincoln counties, projects that would create hundreds of jobs for Montana workers.
Bullock’s DEQ has opposed Hecla Mining Company’s attempt to open these projects on the bogus claim that Hecla Mining Company is somehow responsible for the actions of a separate company from over 20 years ago. When Phillips Baker, Hecla’s CEO, appealed to the courts to overturn the DEQ’s decision, the DEQ responded by slapping him with a counter lawsuit targeting Baker as an individual. This marks the first time the DEQ has ever applied the related statute to an individual, and this could establish a dangerous precedent. Bullock’s DEQ arrived at this flawed legal interpretation by deciding its regulatory authority exists to shill for the far-left environmental lobby.