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Judge: State wasn't notified about constitutional challenge

Plans for gold mines near Yellowstone raise concerns

Environmental groups that seek to block a Canadian company's efforts to search for gold on private land north of Yellowstone National Park face a setback after a judge found they didn't follow procedural rules in challenging a state law.

The Park County Environmental Council and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition argue a law that prevents a judge from blocking exploration work while permits are being challenged violates Montana's constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports District Judge Brenda Gilbert ruled the groups failed to give proper notice to the Department of Justice so the agency could decide if it wanted to intervene.

The groups had hoped for a decision by July 16, when Lucky Minerals Inc.'s drilling license could become valid.

Gilbert earlier ruled state regulators hadn't conducted an adequate environmental review.

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