U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Representative Greg Gianforte today announced the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) signed the Final Record of Decision (ROD) for the Rock Creek Project on the Kootenai National Forest. The project, 13 miles northeast of Noxon, is estimated to create 340 full-time mine jobs when at full production, and contribute to an additional 299 secondary jobs per year.
“The Rock Creek project will spur good paying jobs for hundreds and bring roughly $40 million annually to the local economy. This project also means more tax revenue for essential public services such as schools, law enforcement and public safety,” Daines said. “I applaud the decision by the Forest Service in moving this important project forward.”
“Today’s announcement is a win for Sanders County and for the responsible development of our natural resources throughout our state,” Gianforte said. “U.S. Forest Service approval removes another layer of bureaucracy so that the long-awaited Rock Creek project, and the good-paying Montana jobs it brings, can move forward.”
The ROD approves Phase 1 of the project which includes initial operations designed to provide entry to the mine and collect and evaluate data regarding underground conditions to confirm estimates made during the environmental analysis process.
Any new information related to surface or groundwater conditions gathered during the evaluation will be analyzed before construction of any mining facilities or further mine development, operation, and reclamation (i.e. Phase 2 of the project) will be approved.
Statements of Support:
Tom Rummel, Sanders County Sheriff: “In Sanders County, our law enforcement and public safety budgets are stretched almost to the breaking point. This mine will mean good jobs for families and also much needed tax revenue for essential public services like law enforcement. I thank Senator Daines and Congressman Gianforte for their help in getting this project across the finish line.”
Jennifer Fielder, Montana State Senator: “After decades of red tape, we need to get this mine open. I am really impressed with how the Rock Creek Mine has gone above and beyond expectations to ensure the water will be clean and every State & federal environmental regulation has been satisfied. The recent efforts of Senator Daines, Congressman Gianforte and the U.S Forest Service to finally move this important project along are very much appreciated.”
Tony Cox, Sanders County Commissioner: “When fully operating the Rock Creek Mine will provide hundreds of good paying jobs that will boost our local economy. Families, schools, local businesses and more will benefit. We think the mine can be developed in a way that will protect the environment while at the same time help our communities thrive. I thank Senator Daines and Congressman Gianforte for their efforts.”
Daines has a strong record of working to streamline the permitting process for mining projects.
In July 2018, Danes and Gianforte issued statements in response to a court ruling that delayed the Rock Creek Mine.
In September 2017, Daines highlighted concerns over stalled mining projects in a letter to the USFS. That month, Daines and Gianforte also sent a letter to Secretary Perdue and Secretary Zinke urging the administration to prioritize the process for the Rock Creek mine.