Montana takes a stand for clean-water and outdoor economy


Initiative 186, aimed at making mining responsible, needs more visible support (and ultimately votes) from the fly-fishing world

Montana’s Yellowstone and Smith rivers are in the crosshairs of the mining industry, with proposals looming that could forever degrade these iconic rivers. Fortunately, Montanans – particularly those in the outdoor recreation industry – are putting up a fight by launching a ballot initiative to protect the state’s waterways from mining pollution.

A group of non-profits, businesses and volunteers lead by Trout Unlimited has succeeded in getting Initiative 186, “Yes for Responsible Mining,” on the ballot. Supporters collected 45,000 signatures (20,000 more than they needed) to get the measure included on the upcoming Nov. 6 ballot.

The initiative would give the state of Montana authority to deny mine permits for projects that would require perpetual treatment of water. Current law does not allow the state to deny a mine permit, even if the mine will be a source of toxic water forever.

“Clean water and healthy fisheries define Montana and are a huge driver to the State’s economy,” said Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited CEO. “That is why Trout Unlimited, our volunteers and other partners support allowing state experts to say, “No. This mine in this place is a bad idea, because its pollution will last forever.”

The outdoor recreation industry is playing a significant role in the campaign. Orvis, Simms, Adipose, REC, Firstlite were some of the first companies to come on board and support the initiative and the goal of protecting Montana water, but businesses across the state are contributing, holding events and signing on in support of the initiative.

“As leaders in the outdoor recreation industry, we’re excited to help with an important initiative that will ensure that our children and grandchildren will have clean water for drinking, swimming, and fishing in Montana’s famous rivers,” said Orvis Vice Chair Dave Perkins in a written appeal to outdoor recreation businesses.

If you care about clean water, fishing, and sustainable jobs in Montana, please support I-186 by visiting or emailing [email protected].


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