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Faith leaders support I 186


October 17, 2018

We are a group of pastors and faith leaders from many different perspectives across our great state of Montana writing to express our strong support for Initiative I-186 which is called Yes for Responsible Mining. The purpose of this initiative is to give our state the power to deny any new hardrock metal mining (eg. gold/silver/copper) permits that would create permanent water pollution.

This does not apply to coal, oil or gas operations. This initiative is important and necessary because our waterways and landscape are at risk under current laws.

We can certainly point to the obvious mining disasters such as the Berkeley Pit in Butte and the Mike Horse Mine above Lincoln from decades ago. However, there are also numerous modern mines across our state which are adversely affecting the landscapes around them through the contamination of both surface and ground water that will need to be treated for generations or possibly forever. Examples of these include the Zortman Landusky Mine by Fort Belknap, the Kendell Mine between Lewistown and Havre, the Beal Mountain Mine above Fairmont Hotsprings, and the Basin Creek Mine above Helena.

Mines like these contaminate water for drinking, agriculture, ranching and recreation and they negatively impact the communities and economies which are connected to them, not to mention all of the plants, animals and aquatic life that are part of the downstream ecosystems.

We are aware that mining is an important part of our state’s economy and heritage and that there are mines operating responsibly in relation to the water and landscape around them. This initiative does not apply to current mines and it does give a viable and reasonable path for mine permits in the future.

As members of multiple spiritual and faith perspectives, we all have a call and responsibility to be caretakers and stewards of the earth, the landscape we inhabit, and all of the living plants and creatures that are part of it.

We in Montana are aware that the landscapes and waterways that give life to all things are the most precious resources of our state. I-186 is a clear and tangible way to be good stewards of our water resources and to help ensure the health and livelihood of all people and life for generations to come. We know that mining is important for our modern way of living, and we believe that I-186 will promote responsible mining that is more in line with our strong values of stewardship and care of the earth.

I-186 is important because we know that many mining companies are owned by out of state and international corporations that often have to answer to interests outside of the future and health of our state. This initiative gives us protection from short-sighted and exploitive decisions that might negatively impact our water and land for generations to come.

We reject the accusations that this initiative is driven by extremists or out of state interests. The writers and supporters of I-186 are local conservationists, both democrats and republicans who care about clean water and the future of our state.

We urge all people of Montana to vote yes on I-186 as an expression of faith and to be responsible stewards of the land we live in and of the clean water that gives life to all things.

1. The Rev. John Lund, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Missoula

2. The Rev. Joseph Carver, Catholic, Missoula

3. Laurie Franklin, Spiritual Leader and Senior Rabbinic Intern, Congregation Har Shalom, Missoula

4. The Rev. Arne Bergland, ELCA, Helena

5. Pastor Alan Hilberg, First Christian Church (DOC), Missoula

6. The Rev. Jean Collins, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Lewistown

7. The Rev. Val Zdilla, Resurrection University Catholic Parish, Bozeman

8. Rabbi Allen Secher, Jewish, Whitefish

9. The Rev. Laura Folkwein, United Church of Christ, Missoula

10. Pastor Jim Heikes, Hope United Methodist Church, Billings

11. Pastor Dee Anna, United Methodist Church, Boulder

12. Teresa Henry, First United Methodist, Missoula

13. The Rev. Susan K. DeBree, United Methodist, Helena

14. The Rev. Thomas Lee, ELCA, Missoula

15. Thyrza Zabriskie, St James Episcopal Church, Bozeman

16. The Rev. Kendra Wilde, ELCA, Helena

17. The Rev. Tom Peterman, ELCA, Missoula

18. Mr. Ira Smotherman, Methodist, Bozeman

19. Roxanne Berg-Metivier, Montana Association of Christians, Missoula

20. Joan Brandvold Schmidt, Director of Music, First Presbyterian Church, Great Falls

21. The Board of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Missoula

22. The Governing Council of Open Way Sangha Missoula, Buddhists: Dharmacharya Rowan Conrad, Dharmacharya Greg Grallo, Director Nicole Dunn, Peggy Mallette, William Tanke and Steve Zellmer

23. David E. Anderson, Lay Pastoral Associate, ELCA, Nathanael-Volmer Lutheran parish, Dagmar

24. Pamela Mavrolas, Helena Big Sky Unitarian Universalist Board Member

25. The Rev. Roxanne Klingensmith, St. James Episcopal Church, Bozeman

26. Barbara Arensmeyer, Lay Pastoral Associate, ELCA, Trinity Lutheran Church, Choteau

27. The Rev. Mark R. Ramseth, ELCA, Bozeman — President Emeritus, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH.

28. The Rev. Carol L Ramseth, ELCA, Bozeman

29. The Rev. Tony Rhodes, ELCA, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Townsend

30. The Rev. Kim Woeste, Chaplain/Director of Spiritual Life and Church Relations, Rocky Mountain College, Billings

31. The Rev. R Mark Taylor, ELCA, Plentywood Lutheran, Plentywood

32. Jasmine Krotkov, Quaker, Montana Gathering of Friends, Great Falls

33. The Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson, Episcopal, Bozeman

34. The Rev. Duffy Peet, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman

35. Rev David Munson, United Church of Christ (UCC), Red Lodge

36. The Rev. Dr. Charles Alkula, United Methodist Church, Stevensville

37. Pastor Andrew Wendle, ELCA, Eidsvold Lutheran Church, Somers

38. Dr. Jennifer Yocum, Senior Pastor, University Congregational Church of Missoula

39. The Rev. Aprille Jordan, ELCA, Missoula

40. The Rev. Todd Scranton, Grace United Methodist, Missoula

41. Mary Jo Quinn, SCL (Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth), Pastoral Assistant, Blessed Trinity Catholic Community, Missoula

42. The Rev. Ken Olson, ELCA, Lewistown

43. The Rev. Tom Schlotterback, ELCA, Billings

44. The Rev. Jean Larson, ELCA, Missoula

45. Sister Cecily Schroepfer, OSF, Roman Catholic, Billings

46. Sister Marya Grathwohl, OSF, Roman Catholic, Billings

47. Beverly J. Larson, ELCA Deacon, Kalispell

48. Duane Larson, ELCA, Retired Fire Chief, Kalispell

49. The Rev. Barry Padget, United Methodist Church, Missoula

50. The Rev. Stephen R. Schmidt, ELCA, Hope Lutheran Church, Bozeman

51. The Rev. Chris Flohr, ELCA, Missoula

52. The Rev. Carl Rohr, ELCA, Ronan

53. The Rev. Dave Peters, ELCA, Bozeman

54. The Rev. Miriam Schmidt, ELCA, Big Sky

55. The Rev. Brad Ulgenes, ELCA, St. John’s Lutheran, Helena

56. The Rev. Ron Martin-Dent, ELCA, Polson

57. The Rev. Stan Hoobing, ELCA, Shelby

58. The Rev. Rob Nedbalek, Freedom in Christ Prison Ministry, Deer Lodge

59. The Rev. Henry Littlehales, Disciples of Christ, Missoula

60. The Rev. Daniel Disch, ELCA, Missoula


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