Forest Service Backs Tester's Plan to Protect the Paradise Valley

Senator Continues to Push Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act for Permanent Protection

(Big Sandy, Mont.)-The U.S. Forest Service today announced it’s supporting plans to protect the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park from large-scale mining operations, building off U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s landmark Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

The Forest Service is recommending that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke temporarily withdraw approximately 30,000 acres in the Paradise Valley and Gardiner Basin from potential mineral development. This comes after Tester and thousands of Montanans introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently protect the nation’s first National Park and the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. The current two year moratorium is nearly up and the Administration can only withdraw the mineral leases for 20 years.

“This region is a treasure for all Montanans,” said Tester. “Today’s news is a positive step forward, but we must not rest on our laurels. The entire delegation must throw their full support behind our bill, which permanently protects the region’s economy for future generations.”

Secretary Zinke is now tasked with reviewing the Forest Service’s recommendation and making a determination about whether or not to temporarily withdraw the land from mineral development. Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which has the support of hundreds of local businesses, would permanently withdraw the mineral leases.