HELENA, Mont. -

An environmental group is suing Montana over a permit allowing a Canadian company to expand its open-pit gold mining operation near Whitehall.
The Montana Environmental Information Center says the permit's reclamation plan violates state constitutional guarantees to a clean and healthful environment.
The group is seeking a judge's order for the Golden Sunlight Mine to be fully reclaimed once mining operations cease.
The lawsuit filed Monday says the plan the DEQ approved requires only the partial backfilling of the new pit that would leave at least 15 acres open.
That group says that plan would be less visually appealing, provide less habitat for wildlife and be less structurally stable than completely backfilling the pit.
DEQ spokesman Chris Saeger tells the Independent Record the agency was unaware of the lawsuit.