HELENA – Dozens gave comment Monday evening regarding the proposed Black Butte Copper Project 15 miles north of White Sulfur Springs.

The public meeting was one of four scheduled meetings by the Department of Environmental Quality as it prepares an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the project.

DEQ is in the scoping period of the EIS where the public can provide comment on proposed actions. The meeting brought out DEQ environmental experts, local business owners, legislators and the public.

Some lawmakers, including state senator Terry Gauthier of Helena, see the mine as big source of tax revenue.

Story continues below

[The mine] creates the revenue without having to go to all the people and raising taxes on everything we buy and everything else. Here is the possibility to collect revenue on a mine I believe is totally sound,” Gauthier said.

However, others are unconvinced.

Malcolm Gilbert, who commented before DEQ officials at Monday’s meeting, expressed concern that tax revenue from the mine wouldn’t actually be returned to Meagher county.

Ahead of Monday’s meeting, environmental groups and anglers took to the Capitol with boats and signs protesting the proposed mine, saying they don’t want pollution to affect the iconic Smith River.

Brandon Boedecker, owner and operator at Pro Outfitters, attended the rally and also spoke at Monday’s meeting.

“I want to see the Smith River protected. I want to see my grand kids go down and see the same river that I’ve seen,” Boedecker said. “ A mine at the headwaters of the Smith is a bad thing.”

Tintina Resources, the company behind the proposed copper mine, has said in the past that new mining technologies used in the project will prevent any catastrophes from happening.

DEQ said it will respond to “substantive comments” received at the meeting as well as online and by mail. You can submit an email comment to deqtintinablackbuttecopperproject@mt.gov.

To mail a comment, use the following address:

Craig Jones

Department of Environmental Quality

P.O. Box 200901

Helena, MT 59620-0901

All comments must be submitted no later than Nov. 16.