The Latest: Montana to appeal mine permit revocation

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) The Latest on a court order that revoked a water use permit for a mine proposed beneath a Montana wilderness area (all times local):

3 p.m.

Montana officials plan to challenge a court ruling that struck down a water use permit for a silver and copper mine that's proposed beneath a wilderness area.

Judge Kathy Seeley said that state officials didn't adequately consider potential damage to nearby streams from Hecla Mining Co.'s Rock Creek Mine.

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation spokesman John Grassy said Monday the agency will appeal.

Environmental groups represented by Earthjustice sued after the state issued the water permit in early 2018. They say streams within the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness are so ecologically valuable that they deserve the greatest protections available under law.

Hecla spokeman Luke Russell says Seeley's April 9 ruling would not impact planned exploratory work at the mine site, located northeast of Noxon.

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1:05 p.m.

A state judge has revoked the water permit for a silver and copper mine proposed beneath a northwestern Montana wilderness area.

Judge Kathy Seeley said in a recent order that state officials didn't adequately consider potential damage to nearby streams from Hecla Mining Co.'s Rock Creek Mine.

Environmental groups represented by Earthjustice argued streams within the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness are so ecologically valuable that they deserve the greatest protections available under law.

Rock Creek would employ about 300 people and cover almost 500 acres.

Montana regulators in a separate case have asked a judge to block Idaho-based Hecla CEO Phillips Baker, Jr. from exploring or opening new mines. They allege he's in violation of the state's "bad actor" law because of ongoing pollution from a mining company where Baker once worked.

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