1. Montana outlawed hydraulic mining in 1972. Montana’s 1972 Constitution provides protection for the environment in Article IX, sections 1-4, especially. Section 1 states that “the state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations” and that “the legislature shall provide adequate remedies for protection of the environmental life support system.” Section 2 centers on reclaiming “all lands disturbed by the taking of natural resources,” and section 3 on water rights, where “the legislature shall provide for the administration, control, and regulation of water rights,” so the amount of water required by hydraulic mining techniques would be all but impossible to acquire. Section 4 focuses on preserving state lands for “use and enjoyment by the people.”
2.Time Magazine ran an article on September 25, 1995 documenting the presence of arsenic in old Montana and California mines. In Montana, Crown Butte is attempting to mine for gold under protest, “in spite of Crown Butte’s promise not to harm the area surrounding the mines in their projected 10-15 year life-span.” One of their opponents, “Jim Barrett, chairman of the anti-mine Beartooth Alliance” declared, “When [the company] gets the gold, they’ll be gone, but we will be here tomorrow. We will suffer forever.” However, the Crown Butte mining project was on federal lands outside Montana’s control, and Crown Butte mining, as of 2002, has failed to acquire these lands. Legal battles are still in play regarding the use of cyanide to extract minerals in Montana, as well.
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