We are pleased to announce that on March 7, 2017 Senators Cantwell and Murray introduced S.566, the Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2017 – an important milestone for the Methow Headwaters Campaign. The bill calls for permanent protection of about 340,000 acres of public land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest from new industrial-scale mine development. The senators originally introduced the legislation in 2016, and the bill was heard in September before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, of which Senator Cantwell is the ranking member. The re-introduction in the new congress continues the senators’ commitment to ensuring that the waters, working landscapes and recreational economy of the Methow Valley are protected from the impacts of industrial-scale mining.
“Water is the lifeblood of the economy in the Methow Valley. With so many salmon, farmers and outdoor recreationists dependent on clean water, we can’t risk opening the area to copper mining.” – Senator Cantwell
“No matter what the political climate in Congress is, it’s critical that we keep fighting to preserve and protect the Methow Valley watershed for future generations.” – Senator Murray
In December, the campaign achieved another important milestone when the Bureau of Land Management published a notice in the Federal Register of an administrative mineral withdrawal for the Methow Headwaters. The notice begins a two-year planning process in which the land management agencies will evaluate the potential for a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the headwaters region. The Bureau of Land Management is currently accepting public comments on the mineral withdrawal.