“Frankly, I think it would be duplicative and a waste of money,” Opper said. “I talked to my staff and the suggestions people offered (Monday night) had already been thoroughly investigated and couldn’t work for one reason or another.
“Believe me, if we could find something less controversial, affordable and doable, I would do that in a heartbeat.”
If the state and federal government do move forward with putting the mine waste in Section 35, Grimes said he can just about guarantee a lawsuit will be filed, in part over restrictive easements that cover the property and appear to prohibit surface and subsurface excavation and extraction activities, as well as the “dumping or other disposal of noncompostable refuse.”
“They would be violating almost every one of the restricted covenants,” Grimes said. “We were promised those restrictive easements would be in place and our land protected when we bought our property.
“They continue to tell people it will not affect our property values; it’s just a sad thing but it looks like we will have to sue them to take Section 35 off the table and look for a real answer to this problem.”
The Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex, of which the Mike Horse Dam is part, is an inactive mining district that dates back to the discovery of silver, lead and zinc ores in the late 1880s. As part of processing the ores mined in the area, mill tailings were deposited in Beartrap Creek, a tributary of the Blackfoot.