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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug 01, 2012

 

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Kristi Ponozzo
Director's Office
406-444-2813

 

Agencies Sign Record of Decision for Stillwater and East Boulder Mine Plan Amendments

 

HELENA - The Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the Custer National Forest, and the Gallatin National Forest have signed the Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Stillwater Mining Company’s Revised Water Management Plans and Boe Ranch LAD. The Stillwater Mine and the East Boulder Mine are existing platinum group metal underground mines located in the vicinity of Nye, MT, and south of Big Timber, MT, respectively.

The responsible officials for the Custer and Gallatin National Forests and Montana Department of Environmental Quality have decided to approve amendments of Stillwater Mining Company’s existing Plans of Operations. They have selected all Agency Mitigated Alternatives (Alternatives 3A, 3B, and 3C), except with regard to the tailing impoundment capping scenarios. Based on the analysis disclosed in the FEIS, the responsible officials have decided to approve tailing impoundment capping scenarios as described in the Proposed Action Alternatives.

Please see the Record of Decision and FEIS for details related to the decisions and selected alternatives: www.deq.mt.gov.

The Stillwater Mining Company submitted applications in late 2000 to the agencies to amend its operating permits. The agencies are approving closure and post-closure water management plans for adit water, tailings impoundments, and storm water for the Stillwater Mine (including the Hertzler LAD facility) and East Boulder Mine. The agencies are also approving construction and operation of a pipeline and LAD system at Stillwater’s Boe Ranch property, if needed, to dispose of treated adit and tailings waters from the East Boulder Mine during operations and at closure.

This FEIS analyzed SMC’s proposed revisions as well as agency-proposed modifications to the revised water management plans such as: reclamation cover requirements, reclamation cap design, use of biological treatment systems for treatment of undiluted tailings water at closure, and post-closure water routing and channel design.

This has informed decision makers, both DEQ and USFS, regarding environmental consequences pertaining to implementation of revised water management plans, including construction and operation. Nine alternatives (3 No Action Alternatives, 3 Proposed Action Alternatives, and 3 Agency-Mitigated Alternatives) were analyzed in detail.

The issuance of the Record of Decision initiates the administrative appeals filing period. For more information or to request copies of the ROD or final EIS, contact the project coordinators, Kristi Ponozzo, Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59601, 406-444-2813, kponozzo@mt.gov or Patrick Pierson, Custer National Forest, 1310 Main Street, Billings, MT 59105, 406-255-1441, ppierson@fs.fed.us.

The agencies will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in this process. Please contact Lisa Peterson, DEQ Public Affairs Coordinator, at 406-444-2929, or lpeterson@mt.gov regarding needed accommodations.

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