Major milestone: Sen. Tester announces bill blocking mines from Yellowstone

Great news! Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) announced a bill today that will prevent new large-scale gold mining at Yellowstone's gateway, and we couldn't be happier.

The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act will permanently protect more than 30,000 acres of public lands north of Yellowstone from gold mine proposals.

Locals asked for it, and our elected officials are delivering: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) announced a bill today that will protect Yellowstone's gateway from gold mines. (Photo Bill Campbell.)

Locals asked for it, and our elected officials are delivering: Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) announced a bill today that will protect Yellowstone's gateway from gold mines. (Photo Bill Campbell.)

GYC and our partners have worked tirelessly with the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition in asking our Montana delegation for a bill that would protect their jobs, our way of life, and the public lands that support both. As of today, 340 local businesses have joined the bipartisan Business Coalition.

"The 340 local businesses, plus all of us who love the Yellowstone River, Paradise Valley, and the gateway to Yellowstone, asked for a bill protecting this remarkable place, and Sen. Tester delivered," said GYC's Executive Director Caroline Byrd in a statement today. "We're grateful that he's given us a bill that protects not only our economy, but also what fuels it: Yellowstone National Park and the public lands next door."

We're definitely celebrating this milestone today, but we can't rest just yet. We need to get this bill passed! You can help. Join our mailing list today (and get a free sticker!). We'll be in touch with how you can add your voice to the hundreds already saying: Yellowstone is more valuable than gold. 

And we've got a few other irons in the fire. You'll hear from us on these too.

  • Remember the two-year timeout on mining we got on these same public lands last November? We're working to extend it for 20 years. We know 20 years is temporary, but we're glad to have this timeout as a safety.
  • We're staying vigilant about plans the two foreign-backed companies are making to explore on private land up Emigrant and on Crevice Mountain. 

We can't speculate on the future for any of these paths. But we do know that opposing these mines has broad, bipartisan support, both inside and outside Montana. The Business Coalition's 340 members are joined by the Park County Commission, both candidates for Montana's House seat, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in saying: Yellowstone is more valuable than gold.

We're looking forward to working with you, our local business partners, our Montana delegation, and our coalition partners in protecting Yellowstone's gateway from gold mines, forever.

-- Joe Josephson, Montana Conservation Associate