British Columbia Mine Plan Has Montanans in an Uproar

Coal-mining and natural-gas drilling projects could soon get underway in British Columbia’s Flathead Valley, just north of the U.S. border and Glacier National Park, but a group of Montana enviros and politicians is bringing international pressure to bear in an attempt to stop them. The valley is one of North America’s wildest places, home to endangered and threatened species and the North Fork of the Flathead River, which flows south to form Glacier’s western border. Cline Mining Corp. wants to fast-track a massive open-pit coal mine and have it operating within two years. A separate project would involve the construction of a series of exploratory natural-gas wells in the valley. Cline President Kenneth Bates claims the mine would be “a harmless and clean operation,” but Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) says backers of the developments are “asking for a fight” and has requested that Secretary of State Colin Powell intervene.