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Groups plan to sue over water pollution from Troy Mine

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TROY -

Two groups sent a letter of intent to sue over the water pollution from Troy Mine.

On behalf of the Montana Environmental Information Center, the Western Environmental Law Center sent a notice of intent to sue Hecla Mining company over water pollution from the Troy Mine in northwestern Montana. 

While the copper and silver mine has been closed since 2015, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says it continues to contribute mining pollution into Lake Creek. 

According to a release from the Western Environmental Law Center, "water quality sampling between 2005 and 2011 identified exceedances of water quality standards for copper and lead in Lake Creek below the tailings impoundment. Sampling upstream of the tailings impoundment did not find concentrations of lead or copper above non-detectable levels. Yet, DEQ has done nothing to require Hecla to treat this pollution."

"Polluted water has seeped from the unlined tailings impoundment at the Troy Mine into Lake Creek every day for the last five years, and every day for many years before that," said Andrew Hawley with the Western Environmental Law Center. "If DEQ would do its job, we wouldn't have to go to court to force action on this obvious source of illegal pollution, but here we are."

Luke Russell, VP of External Affairs for Hecla Mining Company issued the following statement:

"We disagree with these allegations and the mine is in compliance with its permits. We take our compliance responsibilities very seriously.

The fact these allegations go back to 2005 and were never made previously illustrate the attempt of these serial litigants to try to oppose responsible economic development for Northwest Montana.

We will review the allegations in more detail once we receive them."

A copy of the notice is available here.

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