Protect Osprey from Mining Pollution, Vote Yes on I-186

This November, Montanans have an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect Montana’s rivers—and the ospreys and other wildlife that depend upon—them by voting Yes on I-186 at the ballot box.

More than 200 abandoned mines in Montana discharge toxic pollutants like mercury, arsenic and lead into our rivers. Mines that promised to be clean ended up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to clean up. I-186 would prevent this in the future by requiring new mines to prove there won’t be a need for perpetual water treatment after they close up shop. Currently, no laws have successfully prevented mining companies from causing permanent water pollution, declaring bankruptcy and leaving Montanans stuck with the bill for cleaning up toxic pollution.

Montanans aren’t the only ones stuck with the pollution. The survival of ospreys that nest and hunt along Montana’s waterways is threatened from irresponsible mines: Acid mine drainage – that requires perpetual water treatment – has seeped into their aquatic habitat, lacing the fish they eat with contaminants like mercury. As smaller fish are eaten by larger fish, who in turn provide sustenance for wildlife like osprey, the concentration of toxic pollutants like mercury and arsenic becomes higher in the tissues of the species at the top of the food chain. As with many bird species, mercury contamination weakens the integrity of egg shells, proving fatal for many chicks. Some areas of Montana with high concentrations of mercury have now seen osprey egg mortality to be as high as 50 percent.

Fortunately, in this year’s election we can do something about it: We can support I-186, which will come to a statewide vote because of the actions of thousands of concerned Montanans.

I-186 supports responsible mining. It is not anti-mining. It is anti-pollution. It requires mining corporations to be good neighbors to the wildlife and Montana communities that depend on healthy waterways and clean water.

Clean water, uncontaminated waterways, and abundant wildlife — that’s what I-186 is all about. From our famous rivers like the Smith, the Big Hole, the Yellowstone and the Missouri, to the creeks and streams that flow through national and state parks, Montana is synonymous with blue ribbon trout streams and unrivaled outdoor recreational experiences.

By voting Yes on I-186, you are saying YES to clean water, protecting taxpayers, and helping to save incredible wildlife like osprey. You are saying YES to Montana.

Protect Montana’s waters by pledging to Vote Yes for I-186 on November 6th.