STOP I-186

Mission Statement

“STOP I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs is a coalition of miners, teachers, small business owners, sportsmen, local officials, and taxpayers who recognize the essential role mining plays in Montana’s economy.” [Stop I-186, accessed 11/14/18]

Summary

Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs was a campaign against a Montana ballot measure that would have required mining companies to have more stringent reclamation plans. The campaign was led by the longtime head of the Montana Petroleum Association, and funded by foreign mining companies. The campaign was successful in defeating the ballot initiative.

Notable Activities & Statements on Public Lands Policy

As a ballot initiative campaign committee, Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs existed mostly to defeat a 2018 ballot measure in Montana that would have required mining companies to have more stringent reclamation plans. Stop I-186 was successful.

Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs was formed to oppose a ballot initiative in Montana that would have required mines to “have a reclamation plan providing clear and convincing evidence that the project won’t require perpetual water treatments for toxic waste.” Stop I-186 said the measure would “end all new mining in Montana” and would “kill $42 million worth of annual tax revenue for the state.” Dave Galt, who heads Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs, said that “‘Mining plays an essential role in Montana’s economy by supporting jobs and generating annual tax revenue for local communities. Regardless of the misleading message promoted by the activists behind this initiative, one thing is clear – the intent of I-186 is to ban mining in Montana.’” [Montana Standard, 05/17/18]

  • David Galt wrote, “even a cursory look at Montana’s permitting process for mines reveals that our regulatory standards are among the world’s most stringent when it comes to protecting our land and water resources. But I-186, a recently proposed ballot initiative, completely ignores the modernization of Montana’s mining laws and the rigorous regulatory process that members of our mining industry must go through today to obtain a permit. Through vague language and legal ambiguity, I-186 attempts to mislead Montana voters into believing that our mining industry needs more regulation – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.” If this initiative “passes, it would add ambiguity to state law resulting in additional lawsuits that would effectively prohibit future mines from being permitted. Furthermore, existing mines would face uncertainty regarding mine amendments and expansions. Existing tax revenues could suffer reductions that impact state and local governments. Montana’s state budget as well as many local governments face shortfalls today that have resulted in many cuts to services our citizens need.” The “intent behind I-186 is to shut down mining – plain and simple.” [Billings Gazette, 07/08/18]

I-186 was defeated on November 6, 2018. “With nearly all of the vote tallied, the initiative had been soundly rejected, with 58 percent of voters voting no and 42 percent voting yes.” [The Montana Standard, 11/07/18]

Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs was led by the longtime head of the Montana Petroleum Association.

Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs was run by Dave Galt, “a Helena-based consultant who ran [the] Montana Petroleum Association for 10 years.” He was the executive director there for a decade.” [Montana Standard, 05/17/18]

Stop I-186 to Protect Miners and Jobs was Funded by Foreign Mining Companies

“Perth, Australia-based Sandfire Resources, the developer of a copper mine on Smith River tributary Sheep Creek” opposed I-186. “‘As part of the Montana Mining Association, we are opposed to it, but we’re just a small part of that,’ [Sandfire CEO John] Shanahan said. [Montana Standard, 05/17/18]]

“Also contributing in-kind services to the Stop I-186 committee were Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Hecla Mining Co. in Libby, the Montana Mining Association, [and] Sibanye Stillwater of Columbus.” [Great Falls Tribune, 05/31/18]

  • Golden Sunlight is a gold mine owned by “Toronto, Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp.” [The Montana Standard, 06/20/18]
  • “Sibanye Gold Limited…is based in Westonaria, South Africa.” [Bloomberg Company Overview of Sibanye Gold Limited, accessed 11/15/18]

Revenue & Expenditures

Revenue

The Stop I-186 Campaign was funded by the Montana Mining Association and individual mining companies.

Montana Mining Association: $402,966,24

Sandfire America: $18,929.21

Montana Resources, LLP: $14,677.36

Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc.: $5,201.05

Sibanye Stillwater: $3,895.51

Hecla Mining Company: $2,540.66

Total: $448,210.44

[Montana Campaign Electronic Reporting System, Accessed 11/15/18]

Expenses

The Stop I-186 Campaign spent its money primarily on consultants.

Moore Information: $95,697.84

Mercury Public Affairs, LLC: $81,508.37

Jamestown Associates: $21,856.04

Ronda Wiggers Consulting: $20,373.75

Dorsey & Whitney LLP: $17,857.00

Holland & Hart, LLP: $10,000.00

Bureau of Business & Economic Research: $8,992.00

Eagle Valley Media: $3,550.00

Ultra Graphics: $467.55

Homewood Suites: $224.57

Total: $260,527.12

[Montana Campaign Electronic Reporting System, Accessed 11/15/18]