Local News

KNF’s draft

Environmental Impact

Statement for Montanore

The Kootenai National Forest has released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Montanore Minerals Corporation (MMC) proposal to evaluate an underground copper and silver ore body and a tailings impoundment site near the Cabinet Mountains of northwestern Montana. This Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement describes the potential environmental effects of the project and is open for a 45-day public comment period.

“Right now the forest is focused on evaluating the MMC plan of operations for the project,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert. “We always rely on our partners and the communities we serve to help us be better stewards of the land, so we are hoping for robust feedback during the comment period.”

MMC holds rights to the minerals in the project area. The General Mining Act of 1872 requires that anyone holding valid rights to mineral resources on public lands be allowed reasonable access to them. However, any mining activities require a plan of operations be approved by the managing agency to ensure planned operations protect people, communities and resources. These plans must address any anticipated effects to land and resources either through mitigation or restoration. For the Montanore Evaluation Project, the plan of operations proposes grizzly bear habitat improvements to offset anticipated effects of project activities.

In addition to evaluating geological and hydrological conditions for an underground copper and silver ore body, MMC is proposing to evaluate conditions for a possible tailings impoundment site. Tailings are what is left over after desired ore is separated from other materials and impoundment sites hold these materials in place. The Montanore Evaluation Project is not proposing mining.

The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is based on a Joint Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Montanore Project released by the Kootenai National Forest and Montana Department of Environmental Quality in 2015.

The following year, the forest issued a Record of Decision documenting the forest supervisor’s approval of a plan of operations for the project.

This Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement also addresses the May 2017 U.S. District Court direction to conduct additional analysis.

The Notice of Availability has been published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2019, beginning a 45-day comment period. Comments may be submitted in writing or electronically. Written comments can be hand delivered or mailed to the Forest Supervisor’s office at 31374 US Highway 2, Libby, Montana 59923. Electronic comments may be emailed to Craig Towery at craig.towery@usda.gov.

A public meeting on the project is scheduled for July 23, 2019 from 6 to 8:00 pm at the Kootenai National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Libby, Montana.

Project documents can be viewed at https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/kootenai/landmanagement/projects. Hard copies of the documents (paper or compact disc formats) are also available.

For more information, contact Craig Towery, Geologist, Kootenai National Forest at 406-293-6211.

Submitted by Willie Sykes





features local artists

Fellow art enthusiasts, Libby Fine Arts and Libby Art are now showing local artists at The Heritage Museum until July 15th. Featured artists include Linda Caldwell, Olivia Costilla, Joey Barns, John Bursell, Marilyn Irwin and Jonna White.

Submitted by John Bursell

Unemployment Rate falls to 3.6%

Montana’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 3.6% in the month of May. The national unemployment rate was flat at 3.6% over the month.

“Montana’s economy continues to grow despite tight labor markets,” said Governor Bullock. “Businesses are innovating, and workers are updating their skills to increase productivity. We must continue our commitment to advancing worker skills in in-demand fields and look for other ways to bring more workers into our labor force.”

Total employment, which included agricultural, payroll and self-employed workers, indicated a gain of 535 jobs. With only 109 added to the labor force over the month, Montana’s labor market continued to tighten. Payroll employment increased by 800 jobs over the month, with job gains in federal government and accommodations & food service.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1% in May, with gasoline prices falling by 0.5% and other prices gently increasing. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, increased by 0.1%.

Submitted by ErinLoranger