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Supreme Court upholds stricter permitting for Rock Creek mine

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a judge’s ruling that a mining company must go through a stricter permitting process before it can build a copper and silver mine in northwestern Montana.

The justices in a 4-2 decision upheld Judge Kathy Seeley’s 2011 ruling that the more rigorous process for the Rock Creek mine will protect threatened bull trout habitat in the Cabinet Mountains.

Revett Minerals Inc. must apply for individual permits that require a public comment process instead of a general permit that had been approved by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The Spokane-based company had argued that environmental concerns were addressed through the general permitting process.

Justices Jim Rice and Patricia Cotter dissented with the majority, saying they would have reversed Seeley’s ruling.

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