Montana’s "bad actor" law was enacted to hold accountable mining executives who walked away from environmental disasters they caused in our state. The law gives the state — and taxpayers — tools to keep those executives from any future mining here until they reimburse us for cleanup costs, pay penalties and interest, and remediate the problems they left behind.
A primary impetus for the law was protection of our water. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality named Hecla’s current CEO, Phil Baker a bad actor because of his management role at Pegasus Gold, a company that filed for bankruptcy and left the public to clean up their abandoned mines to the tune of more than $70 million to date, plus about $2 million each year, forever. All of that money spent to treat toxic mine wastewater that can never be fully cleaned.
Phil Baker should be held accountable for his role in the Pegasus mess. Hecla hired Phil Baker and got his baggage in the deal. They should have known better.