On July 6th, Northern Plains joined several other organizations in seeking greater accountability for the reckless actions taken by the owners of the Signal Peak Mine in the Bull Mountains. Alongside Montana Environmental Information Center, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, Western Environmental Law Center, and Earthjustice, Northern Plains sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and filed a citizen complaint with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). These letters detailed a long history of criminal activity, corruption, and and environmental and public health violations by the mine’s owners. A formal request was made for an investigation and provisional halt to operations pending compliance with the law.
In January, as part of a broad corruption investigation into mine management and operations of Signal Peak, the United States Department of Justice convicted the company for multiple counts of health and safety violations, which included a $1 million fine and three years of probation. This accountability was a great first step, and we are now calling for further investigations given the scope of Signal Peak’s transgressions and that of its parent companies. The letters document Signal Peak’s repeated violations of environmental and public health laws for the 14 years it has operated the mine.