Making the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act law in 2019

Today, we remain close to a major victory for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In the waning days of the lame duck session, the United States Congress deferred a public lands package that included the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act to early January 2019. When passed, the law will prohibit large-scale mining on 30,370 acres of our public lands at Yellowstone’s northern gateway forever.

The Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. (Photo Bill Campbell.)

The Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley, Montana. (Photo Bill Campbell.)

Thanks to universal support from thousands of individuals and over 420 local businesses, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act has been on the verge of passage now twice in 2018, only to run up against congressional horse-trading beyond our control. We are proud and grateful for the strong efforts from Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), and Representative Greg Gianforte (R-MT) to keep this bill a priority with their party leadership. The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act has been among a small number of public lands bills being considered in Congress this year and that is thanks to the hard work and collaboration of Montana’s delegation to preserve jobs and Montana’s outdoor way of life.

Two fly-by-night companies are proposing risky gold-mining projects in Montana, north of Yellowstone National Park. Both companies have leases on private lands, surrounded by public national forest, but this law would have limited their ability to expand onto public lands. Our economy, outdoor heritage, and communities don’t run on foreign-owned gold mines. They thrive because of Yellowstone National Park, our public lands, agriculture, a clean, free-flowing Yellowstone river, and Montanans.

What’s next?  We will ask Montana’s entire delegation to swiftly reintroduce the same bill into the 116th Congress in first days of January, 2019. With all three delegates pulling the sled together, this will carry our tremendous momentum forward on this priority legislation. If you’re a Montanan, we need you to make your voice heard!

We extend an enormous thanks to YOU for all your support throughout this campaign. We will continue to fight for Yellowstone’s northern gateway and its citizens. Together, we can prove that Yellowstone is more valuable than gold.

-Joe Josephson, Senior Montana Conservation Associate