FSPW clarifies mine comments

SANDPOINT — The Montana director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is clarifying his remarks concerning an existing mine in Troy and a proposed one in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness.

The Sanders County Ledger reported that Doug Ferrell voiced support for the Troy Mine and the proposed Rock Creek Mine during a Thompson Falls Chamber of Commerce meeting last month, but Ferrell contends he was misquoted.

Ferrell, who is also the wilderness advocacy group’s vice chairman of the board, said he supports Revett Minerals’ operation at Troy. Ferrell said Friends of Scotchman Peaks neither supports nor condemns the proposed mine at Rock Creek because it’s outside the group’s area of focus.

“FSPW has not endorsed the Rock Creek project, nor has Revett expressed any expectation that we would. Our relationship is based in the Scotchmans and will continue to be so,” Ferrell said in a letter to The Ledger that was given to The Bonner County Daily Bee.

Ferrell explained in the letter that Revett is a neighbor of the Scotchman Peaks proposal and has a shared interest in the group’s wilderness proposal. As a result, Friends of Scotchman Peaks and Revett have been contact with one another for some time.

“FSPW board, staff and partners have toured Revett’s Troy mine facilities and talked to their employees and officers and believe that they are doing a good job both socially and environmentally, providing good employment in northwestern Montana as well as being good stewards of the place they are working in,” Ferrell said in the letter.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks is working legislatively to designate an 88-0000-acre roadless area straddling the Montana/Idaho border as wilderness.

The Rock Creek Alliance, which is fighting Revett’s proposed mine, said it supports the group’s effort to establish, but finds its support of Revett off-putting.

“It is disappointing that FSPW would so glowingly endorse a company that wants to mine the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness,” said the alliance’s Jim Costello.

Revett contends it can safely develop the Rock Creek project without harming the environment and holds Troy up as a example of their commitment to responsible resource extraction.

“People living in the area fully understand what it’s about. That’s the most important thing to us,” Revett CEO John Shanahan said this fall.

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