As promised Montana governor Brian Schweitzer broke out the veto brand on Wednesday and put the hot iron to some of the current legislatures more dubious doings. High on anyone who cares about water and the environments list was Montana SB 306.
The veto that earned the loudest applause and got the darkest of the “big bull” brands was Senate Bill 306, which would have revised the 12-year-old prohibition on cyanide leach open-pit gold and silver mining to allow more open-pit mining in the state.
The measure, touted by Republicans as a “jobs bill,” passed the Legislature last week but has not yet been sent to Schweitzer desk.
Schweitzer said SB306 earned a “VETO” brand because it undermines the will of Montana voters, who twice passed ballot measures banning new open-pit gold and silver mines that use cyanide leach processing.
“I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one in Montana who has contemplated having a long cool drink of cold, pure water,” Schweitzer said. “Over the course of the past few years, those same voters they want to stop from voting, they got together not just once, they got together twice, and they said, ‘we don’t want poison in our water.’”
The question now is, how will this effect mining operations like DutchÂ Gold Resources Inc. that are busy proving out their claim in the Rock Creek drainage? I think it’s a safe bet that they will be busy trying to influence the political playing field for the future of this mining operation. The only thing that saved this bill from passing is the governor’s veto. As it stands now, the Republicans only need six more seats in the Senate and public sentiment be damned, they could have mining back in full swing.
Some form of this bill will be back and look for more influence pedaling by mining interests as the Rock Creek mining story unfolds.