BILLINGS, Mont. — A Montana judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by an Idaho mining company seeking to overturn its designation as an industry "bad actor" because of pollution tied to its CEO.
District Judge Mike Menahan said Friday the complaint from Hecla Mining Co. was premature because the state's designation is not final.
Montana's bad actor law blocks individuals and companies who don't clean up their old mines from starting new ones.
Hecla CEO Phillips Baker Jr. was the former chief financial officer at Pegasus Mining, which went bankrupt in 1998 and saddled the state with more than $35 million in pollution cleanup costs.
Hecla is proposing two copper and silver mines beneath the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Montana.
A separate lawsuit from state environmental regulators against Hecla and Baker is pending.