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Letter

It is no surprise that Initiative 186 is opposed by the Montana AFL-CIO, Montana Chamber of Commerce and commissioners in mining counties. They understand the threat I-186 poses to both jobs and public finance by erecting immense legal barriers to developing any future mineral resources.

The University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research states that I-186 would risk $200 million per year in tax revenue from mines, jeopardizing long-term funding for schools, libraries, law enforcement and other public services.

I-186 proponents never mention that metals occur naturally and have been moving through our environment for thousands of years. Water quality sampling by the U.S. Geological Survey documents arsenic values in the Madison River below Yellowstone Park at 311 parts per billion; this is 62 times greater than the 5 ppb concentration allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency for mine effluent waters.

Mine operators must warrant their compliance with all water quality standards by posting irrevocable bonds. The effectiveness of existing Montana law can be measured by the fact that Montana’s currently operating mines have exemplary records of regulatory compliance, worker safety and environmental stewardship.

Please vote “no” on Initiative 186 to maintain Montana’s balanced and sustainable economy.

Bruce Cox, 

Ted Antonioli,

Missoula

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