The Montanian believes in the free discussion of ideas as a necessary element of a free society. We are pleased to provide this open forum and encourage our readers to submit their thoughts and opinions to us. We prefer letters that are fewer than 300 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Montanian. Letters must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Personal contact information will not be published, just the author’s name and city of residence. Publication is at the sole discretion of The Montanian. Letters deemed by the editor to be slanderous, malicious, or in poor taste will not be published. All submissions are considered property of The Montanian.

Submit your letter to the editor by email to news@montanian.com or mail to 317 California Avenue, Libby, MT  59923. (OPINIONS WILL RETURN NEXT WEEK, NO SUBMISSIONS)

Keeping the Elks Running

This letter is to remind the members of The Elks Lodge and the Libby community as a whole, of some of the functions we bring.

  • Scholarship Foundation
  • Veterans Day free dinners
  • Firefighter & 1st responders free dinners
  • Mothers Day breakfast
  • Hoopfest
  • Christmas for Kids
  • Dictionaries for Kids
  • Boy Scout meets and activities
  • Nordicfest Dinner


Our hall is always available for fundraisers, reunions, anniversaries, yard sales, and much more. With this in mind, what happens if we have to close our doors? Without your participation, we are facing this situation in the very near future.

Please show your support for your community Elks Lodge by attending the BBQ, Band (Back at-it Band), and Chainsaw Expo Fundraiser on Friday June 29 at 5 p.m.

Friends of Hecla speak up about I-186 and bad actor decision

As a legislator that has spent his tenure in the legislature working on natural resource policies, I have grave concerns with the anti-mining ballot initiative Trout Unlimited is trying to qualify for November.

Our permitting processes have been radically changed in the past 20 years. We have reformed our bonding requirements, re-written our reclamation statutes and have adopted the strongest tailings design standards in the world.

These reforms represent thoughtful and deliberative actions taken to safeguard our environment while still allowing extraction industries to exist in Montana. While there is always room for improvement, making changes to what has become an incredibly complex and technical permitting process requires tactful precision.

The sponsors of this initiative are attempting to sell a message that they want clean water, can’t get action from policy makers, and are trying to keep taxpayers from paying for perpetual water treatment. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What they really desire is never-ending litigation in our judicial branch. It’s purposefully written with ambiguous and undefined terms to allow obstructionist lawsuits to end mining in Montana.

Understanding the Treasure State and what we have and can provide to our nation is critical as every single thing we use and need to survive is either grown or mined. We must resist the false narrative from groups like Trout Unlimited who portray a much needed and responsible industry like mining as evil.

Representative Kerry White, Chairman House Natural Resource Committee


The Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) recent decision on Hecla Mining Company will have a chilling effect on future investment in Montana’s economy.

The DEQ’s current decision that would not allow Hecla to develop the Rock Creek and Montanore silver and copper projects in Lincoln and Sanders counties is a huge blow to an area of the Treasure state that desperately needs jobs and could discourage other companies from investing in Montana.

My organization, the Treasure State Resources Association (TRSA) of Montana, brings together diverse organized labor, agriculture, industry and recreation groups to work on issues that affect land use and resource development in Montana. We have a common interest in seeing good jobs created by increasing Montana’s economic opportunities.

Our state has a long history with mining. Over the years, mining companies have created thousands of good-paying jobs and boosted the economy through increased discretionary income, indirect jobs, tax revenue for local governments and a loyal customer base for the small businesses in our communities. TRSA believes TRSA believes in the “balanced-use approach,” which encourages mineral extraction while protecting the environment and our state’s public lands. The development of minerals and environmental protection do not have to be exclusive.

Generally, we have supported the DEQ’s evaluation process of reviewing and granting new mine applications. The citizens in our state have every right to expect our regulatory structure and processes to scrutinize and hold applicants accountable to the standards we have established. We also have an obligation to be informed and hold each other accountable, collectively ensuring that our state is a place that seeks both the protection of our environment and the economic benefits of mining.

Overall, we find the DEQ and staff to be fair, professional and interested in solving problems. Their decision regarding Hecla is an unusual deviation from what we have come to expect from the agency, and we are struggling to understand what purpose can be served by continuing down this path. We believe that mining companies need to clean up after themselves, but to hold Hecla accountable for the actions of another, unrelated company makes no sense.

This decision not only hurts our local economies, but it also threatens our state’s future. DEQ’s decision sends an anti-business signal to other companies that may be considering investing in our state if they believe they too can be incorrectly held accountable for the actions of others. As a result, our citizens could lose out on much-needed economic opportunities.

Hecla has already demonstrated that they are an environmental steward that fulfills its obligations by buying the former Troy Mine. Hecla is reclaiming the Troy Mine, even though they never operated there and has been a model corporate citizen and community partner.

We should be welcoming a responsible company like Hecla into our state and acknowledging the benefits that modern mining brings to Montana. We cannot ignore the fact that the residents of Lincoln and Sanders counties suffer from high employment, and many families are living apart because the main provider has to travel out-of-state to work.

Developing the mines in Lincoln and Sanders counties would bring hope and economic relief to these communities.

We trust that as the DEQ continues to perform its due diligence and review the information provided by Hecla, the agency will quickly resolve this matter so that positive progress can be made to bring jobs and economic prosperity to Northwest Montana.

Peggy Trenk, Treasure State Resources Association