First, we want to say thank you to everyone in this community, neighbors, and PCEC members that attended the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) meeting on the gravel pit and asphalt plant in Emigrant on Highway 89. We are inspired by the dedication in this community to protect our home.
Roughly 200 community members attended the meeting and delivered a clear message: we value our clean air and water. The community demonstrated significant concern that a gravel pit and asphalt plant in Emigrant will harm our air, our water, our economy and our community.
Unfortunately, many community members left the meeting feeling frustrated by DEQ’s responses to questions and comments. Let’s not forget that DEQ has a difficult job and they are very limited in what they can do for our community. They want to help us.
The primary questions we are hearing from our members: What’s next? How can we get involved?
First, please send a comment via email to the DEQ at DEQOpencut@mt.gov.
DEQ has requested that the community submit comments by June 27th. Although representatives from DEQ’s Opencut Division at the meeting asked community members to very narrowly tailor comments, we believe a better strategy is to comment broadly on all potential impacts and concerns.
This is our opportunity to build the public record. We need to develop a record of potential impacts to share with other regulatory departments, decision makers, and local governments. Every comment becomes part of the public record. Every comment matters.
Here is a draft comment letter you can download. Please do not feel like you have to be an expert to comment. Share your personal concerns.
KEY POINTS TO MAKE:
- First, thank DEQ for traveling to Emigrant to meet with our community.
- Second, ask DEQ to extend the comment period;
- Tell DEQ that the permit is deficient because neighbors drinking wells are too close to the project area;
- Highlight impacts to:
- ground and surface water, including the Yellowstone river
- wildlife – identify specific species that you know live in the area or migrate through the area
- air quality, dust
- contaminants from the asphalt plant, learn more here.
- health and safety impacts from heavy equipment on our roads
- weed transmission from the site to neighboring properties and Yellowstone National Park
- significant cultural and archeological resources
- Economic impacts: how would this negatively impact your business, property values or experience as a visitor or part-time resident?
4. Economic impacts: how would this negatively impact your business, property values or experience as a visitor or part-time resident?
Please continue to encourage your friends and neighbors to submit comments. You can also sign and share this petition.
To learn more about the project, download the permit: Permit.pdf
Opencut mining is governed by the Opencut Mining Act.
For more information you can also call DEQ Opencut Administrator, Jana Gruber at 406-444-3920 or visit DEQ’s website: http://deq.mt.gov/Land/opencut.
Here are a few more ways that you can help:
- Write a letter to the Livingston Enterprise. Letters may be mailed to the editor at The Livingston Enterprise, P.O. Box 2000, Livingston, MT 59047; sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call your County Commissioners and encourage them to submit comment at 406-222-4106 or email:
- Contact the company: Riverside Contracting and express your concerns. Mail: 5571 Alloy S, Missoula, MT 59808; Phone:(406) 721-9267
DEQ must respond to the applicants by July 1st. There are three potential outcomes:
- DEQ will approve the permit,
- DEQ will extend the comment period; or
- DEQ will find the permit deficient.
It is very probable that DEQ will extend the comment period to account for the significant public interest demonstrated at Monday’s meeting.
If you have any other questions or concerns or updates, please call PCEC’s Michelle Uberuaga at 406-223-4714.
Thank you for everything you do for Park County,
Michelle, Max and Erica