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Gianforte’s Bill to Protect Paradise Valley Clears Key Hurdle

September 26, 2018
Press Release

Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte’s bill to protect Paradise Valley passed the House Natural Resources Committee this morning.

Gianforte’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, H.R. 4644, withdraws mineral rights and bans mining operations on public land in an area north of Yellowstone National Park. The permanent moratorium enjoys widespread support from the community.

“Montanans can’t rely on a temporary measure to conserve the Yellowstone gateway for generations to come,” Gianforte said. “Instead, Montanans need a permanent, legislative solution to resolve this once and for all. That’s why I brought together Republicans and Democrats to permanently protect Paradise Valley.”

Gianforte’s legislation faced amendments that would weaken the protections it included. A bipartisan group of members rejected those amendments. The committee approved the bill in its original form with a 28-4 vote.

Before the bill was considered, Gianforte urged committee members to pass a permanent moratorium since that is what the local community wants.

“Montanans sent me to Congress to get results for them and to put Montana first. I hope my colleagues share my guiding principles of keeping public lands in public hands, expanding public access to them, and trusting our local communities to know what’s best for them. I urge you to honor their wishes, I urge you to protect Paradise Valley, and I urge passage of this bill,” Gianforte said.

To watch the video, click above or here.

Local leaders and key stakeholders appreciated Gianforte’s efforts.

“I’m glad to see our state representatives work on behalf of the local community and people worldwide to designate the best use of these public lands by passing the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act,” said Park County Commissioner Clint Tinsley.

“Our community has been united in asking for a permanent solution to protect our public lands and the growing economy they fuel here in Park County. That’s exactly what Congressman Gianforte is delivering by introducing the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in the U.S. House. Our community is grateful, and we look forward to working with our entire delegation to get this done,” said Michelle Uberuaga, Executive Director of Park County Environmental Council.

“We are thankful that Congressman Greg Gianforte heard our concerns loud and clear and is working to protect our jobs and way of life,” said Bryan Wells, owner of Emigrant Creek Cabins. “It’s time to get the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act over the finish line.”

“On behalf of Simms nearly 200 employees and our partners here in Montana, we thank Congressman Gianforte,” said K.C. Walsh, Executive Chairman of Simms Fishing Products. “It is important to respect local voices when making land use decisions, and we appreciate that Congressman Gianforte has responded to the strong opposition to mining in this sensitive area. The Yellowstone River is one of the most significant fisheries in our state, and it is critical to our business in Montana.”

“Thank you, Representative Greg Gianforte, for your efforts to protect our multi-million-dollar fly fishing industry on the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act is straightforward and commonsense legislation that protects the people and the economy of Yellowstone’s Gateway,” said Ben Bulis, President and CEO of American Fly Fishing Trade Association.

“We greatly appreciate that the Congressman listened to the hunting and fishing community about the future management of Paradise Valley, as well as East Rosebud Creek, and we encourage Congress to advance this legislation in the near future,” said Joel Webster, Western lands director for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

“This bill protecting Yellowstone’s gateway from gold mining is just what we’ve asked for as part of the broad, bipartisan coalition of Montanans who’ve said for two years: Yellowstone is more valuable than gold. We’re grateful to Congressman Gianforte for standing with his constituents, and for introducing this bill that will protect Yellowstone’s gateway and the healthy local economy it fuels,” said Caroline Byrd, Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

Background:

On September 21, 2018, Gianforte welcomed the U.S. Forest Service’s recommendation to provide an administrative withdrawal of administrative rights that came days after Gianforte’s letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Gianforte, though, reaffirmed he would “continue working to deliver a permanent legislative solution that protects Paradise Valley for generations to come.”

On September 17, 2018, Gianforte sent a letter (HERE) to Secretary Perdue urging the secretary to work with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to “advance a long-term withdrawal while legislation to permanently withdraw this area proceeds through Congress.”

On June 21, 2018, the House Natural Resource Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources conducted a hearing on Gianforte’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

On March 8, 2018, Gianforte sent a letter (HERE) to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee requesting they include his Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in a larger appropriations bill.

On December 14, 2017, Gianforte introduced the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, H.R. 4644, to withdraw mineral rights and ban mining operations on 30,000 acres of public land in an area north of Yellowstone National Park.

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