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Montana Mining Association loses legal battle to stop environmental initiative | Local

The Montana Mining Association lost a court battle on Tuesday trying to stop an environmental initiative to limit pollution from new hard rock mines if it passes.

The Montana Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the association. MMA sued Attorney General Tim Fox and Corey Stapleton, Secretary of State, in May, claiming the initiative, I-186, violates state law regarding the initiatives’ effective date.

The lawsuit was filed against the state attorney general because his office determines whether ballot initiatives are legally sufficient, and the secretary of state because his office certifies that initiatives can appear on the ballot.

MMA asked the state Supreme Court to declare the ballot initiative legally insufficient. The group, Yes for Responsible Mining, a consortium of environmental groups, wrote the initiative earlier this year and collected signatures to push the measure through voters this fall.

Yes for Responsible Mining still has a few days left to provide over 25,000 signatures from across the state.

Judge Laurie McKinnon delivered her opinion, saying the MMA challenge fell outside the scope of the attorney general’s legal sufficiency review and also the scope of the pre-election initiative review of the state court.

A group calling itself Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs, a coalition of miners, teachers, small business leaders and others, kicks off at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Montana Tech University Relations Building in the Poore room on the second floor.