East Rosebud bill passes Senate, heads to House

East Rosebud is one step closer to being safe from dams, forever, after the Senate passed the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic Rivers Act yesterday. 

 East Rosebud Creek, in Montana's Beartooth Mountains. The bill that would keep dams off this stream forever passed the Senate yesterday, and now needs to get through the House. (Photo Kathy Lichtendahl.)

East Rosebud Creek, in Montana's Beartooth Mountains. The bill that would keep dams off this stream forever passed the Senate yesterday, and now needs to get through the House. (Photo Kathy Lichtendahl.)

The bill will designate 20 miles of East Rosebud Creek in Montana's Beartooth Mountains as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system, protecting this stream from development and dams forever. If this bill passes, East Rosebud will be the first river designated Wild and Scenic in Montana in more than 40 years.

We're grateful to Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) for introducing the bill, and grateful to Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) for co-sponsoring. Here's what both Montana's senators told the Billings Gazette:

Tester called Wednesday "a historic day for the next generation of Montana" and "a giant first step in protecting this area for our kids and our grandkids," but said nothing is guaranteed at this point. 

"It's in Congressman (Greg) Gianforte's bailiwick now, and hopefully he can get it through the House to get it to the President's desk," Tester said. Groundwork and support from Montanans helped the bill reach this point, Tester said.

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Speaking about the bill's passage, Daines emphasized his happiness at the bipartisan work behind it.

"You don't always hear about people cooperating with people from other parties and getting things done," Daines said. "That's good news for Montana and good news for America. In the polarized world of politics, it's a great thing to get this done."

We agree. We are pleased that our senators worked together to to do the right thing for both Montana and for Greater Yellowstone. And we're counting on Congressman Gianforte to move the bill he introduced last week through the House.

This is an early Christmas present for us at GYC. We've worked with local landowners and businesses, and with our partners -- Friends of East Rosebud, American Rivers, and American Whitewater -- to help pass this bill since it was first introduced in Congress in 2014. Thanks to our great partners, and thank you for supporting our work. We're looking forward to celebrating this bill being signed into law!

-- Charles Wolf Drimal, Waters Program Associate