Montana Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Lucky Minerals case

The fight over gold mining in the mountains east of the Paradise Valley hit the Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday, with attorneys tangling over whether a 2011 amendment to state environmental laws is unconstitutional.

Justices heard arguments over whether a Park County judge was right to invalidate Montana’s approval of an exploratory drilling permit for Lucky Minerals, Inc., after finding the permit was unlawfully approved. An amendment to the Montana Environmental Policy Act bars district judges from temporarily blocking projects approved by state agencies even if they find the approval was illegal.