Sen. Daines: Don't hold Yellowstone hostage

Both Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) have listened to Montanans, and introduced bills in the Senate and in the House to keep risky gold mining away from Yellowstone's gateway.

 The Yellowstone River. Call Sen. Steve Daines today and ask him to support the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, and keep gold mines away from this river and Yellowstone National Park. (Photo William Campbell.)

The Yellowstone River. Call Sen. Steve Daines today and ask him to support the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, and keep gold mines away from this river and Yellowstone National Park. (Photo William Campbell.)

These identical versions of the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act will protect 30,000 acres of our public lands north of Yellowstone from gold mines that risk the park, the Yellowstone River, and the healthy local economy.

More than 400 local business owners, the county commission, other elected officials, and people throughout southwest Montana support both these bills and want to see them passed.

So where is Sen. Steve Daines? Call him today at 1-855-297-9453 and ask him to support the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

The latest developments were summed up nicely by last week's editorial in the Livingston Enterprise:

If you ask them, both Tester and Gianforte will tell you that residents of Park County have strong opinions about this issue. The bills withdraw mineral rights and forbid mining operations of public lands near Emigrant and Jardine, on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park.

Tester and Gianforte might also tell you that their constituents appreciate it when Montanans voice their concerns about an issue and the folks they elect to Congress listen and respond accordingly. Unfortunately, it seems Republican Sen. Steve Daines isn’t hearing our voices in Park County, even though we’re shouting from mountaintops. 

Daines instead recently told a reporter from this newspaper that perhaps the Paradise Valley mineral withdrawal effort could be used as a bargaining chip in his efforts to withdraw nearly 450,000 acres of public land in the Treasure State from Wilderness Study Area (WSA) designation...

It’s unfortunate that Sen. Daines would consider leveraging the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in an effort to win support for his unpopular WSA proposal...

If Daines genuinely cares about protecting the Yellowstone area, he would join with Tester and support his bill in the Senate — as a bipartisan Montana bill. Yet Daines seems determined to deny Tester any legislative wins, even if they would benefit Montanans.

Let’s hope Daines realizes that Yellowstone and Paradise Valley are more valuable than political gains.

We call on Sen. Daines to stop holding Yellowstone hostage. You can help. Please call Sen. Daines at 1-855-297-9453 and tell him to support the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

-- Scott Christensen, Conservation Director