A legal battle over the Montanore Mine expansion near Libby has gone on for 11 years, and will continue after a Montana Department of Environmental Quality decision on Friday. Department of Environmental Quality Director Tom Livers did not grant a water pollution permit to the mine expansion, asking for more public comments. At the same time, Livers approved of air quality and transmission line permit. Montana Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Gianforte was quick to release a statement shortly after the ruling.

"The permitting of this project is long overdue," says Gianforte. "The state has had over 11 years to get their act together. This project will need hundreds of much needed high way jobs in Lincoln County and some economic stability for the community. The public has already spoken, it just seems there are folks inside a bubble in Helena that just won't listen."
Montana Senator Steve Daines also chimed in on the issue, mentioning Governor Steve Bullock directly in a released statement: “The Montanore Project will create hundreds of much-needed jobs and provide significant economic benefits and tax revenue to communities across northwestern Montana. I am disappointed that Governor Bullock and Montana DEQ have only issued a phased approval of the Montanore project and urge them to work with stakeholders towards a full approval so that this job-creating project can move forward without further delay.”

Governor Steve Bullock was more optimistic about the state's process.

“Today’s decision allows the company to move forward with its project while gathering additional information to demonstrate whether or not further activities will comply with the law," Bullock said. "By law, the state has the responsibility to protect Montana’s clean air and water as we develop our natural resources.”

The U.S. Forest Service wrapped up a decade long environmental impact statement and gave full approval to the project in January.