Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, LWCF Bill Head to President’s Desk
Senator: Montana is the Last Best Place because of Our Public Lands and Outdoor Way of Life
Photo by Thom Bridge
(U.S. Senate)—U.S. Senator Jon Tester is again breaking through the Washington gridlock and delivering made-in-Montana bills to President Trump’s desk.
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and his legislation to permanently reauthorize the successful Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Both provisions were included in a major public lands legislative package and are now one step away from being law.
“Montana is truly the Last Best Place because of our public lands and outdoor way of life,” Tester said. “These bills are heading to the President’s desk as a direct result of hardworking Montanans who made their voices heard and kept fighting to protect our growing outdoor economy.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the public lands legislative package with Tester’s provisions.
The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act will permanently withdraw federal mineral rights on roughly 30,000 acres of the Gallatin National Forest and prevent proposed mines from expanding onto unclaimed public land adjacent to the Park. Tester worked with a coalition of local residents and small-business owners to craft and introduce the bill after a pair of mining companies announced plans to explore the option for mining around the Paradise Valley back in 2015. He was the only Senate sponsor of this legislation for nearly 20 months before securing additional support.
Funded through offshore oil and gas development revenue, LWCF has invested more than $540 million to support Montana’s outdoor recreation economy since it was established in 1965. Tester is the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who has consistently fought to reauthorize and fully fund the popular initiative that Montanans use to increase public access to public lands. He was also the only member of the delegation who opposed legislation to cut $16 million from LWCF last year.
Following the passage of the public lands legislative package, Tester called on Congress to pass legislation to fully fund LWCF at $900 million annually.
President Trump signed nearly two-dozen bills that Tester authored into law during the 115th Congress.