Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act clears key committee vote

by Missoula Current, Martin Kidston

A bill introduced by Sen. Jon Tester cleared a key Senate committee on Tuesday, moving closer to adding permanent protections for the Paradise Valley.

During its Tuesday hearing, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which permanently withdraws mineral rights on 30,000 acres of federal public land north of Yellowstone National Park.

The bill passed on a unanimous vote, including support from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana. Tester was the bill’s lone sponsor.

“Some places are more precious than gold,” Tester said. “My bill will ensure outdoor recreation businesses can continue to thrive in the region, and will protect one of our nation’s greatest treasures for generations to come.”

The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act preserves land on the Custer Gallatin National Forest adjacent to the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, and eliminates the ability for proposed mines to expand onto unclaimed public land.