Montana ballot initiative a no-brainer

The mess Montana taxpayers get to pay to clean up.

If you pay taxes and drink water, voting for I-186 on the November ballot in Montana should be a no-brainer. But more than that, if you have a child or a grandchild or just plain want to make sure that future generations of Montanans don’t have to pay for the mistakes we are making now, then I-186 makes even more sense.

I think about this as my 4-month old son, Otto, rolls over for the very first time and I think about the ranch that one day will belong to him and his sister after their parents are gone. There’s a nice little trout stream flowing right through the middle of this place. Only yesterday, some buddies were out and caught some nice brown trout in our crick.

For generations, Montana kids who grow up to become taxpayers have had to pay to clean up other people’s messes. Sometimes, those messes are so bad that millions has to be spent every year just to maintain the messes, let alone clean them up. This is the legacy of poor mining practices in this state. I-186 would put an end to bad mining, while giving a boost to modern, efficient mining practices. Essentially, this bill would have a mining company that wants to dig out Montana minerals prove that when they leave, they won’t leave behind a legacy of permanent water pollution that has to be treated forever by generations of Montanans like my little boy and his sister. If a company can do that, then a mine can go in.

We haven’t done it that way in the past. Too often, a mining company, often from a foreign country or out-of-state, comes in, takes the minerals, sends the profits to corporate leaders and closes up shop. The taxpayers are left holding the tab, kind of like the ultimate dine-and-dash on a corporate scale. We want to change that so there will be trout in little streams for little boys and girls to catch for generations to come and they will be able to live a life that isn’t footing the bill for the mistakes of their grandparents and parents. Learn more and donate at

— Tom Reed

Yes on I-186

By Chris Hunt.