U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today spoke about Paradise Valley during the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining hearing.
Daines reiterated he supports the local communities efforts for a mineral withdrawal to protect Paradise Valley and emphasized the need to focus on the best path forward with the highest chance of success for securing protections for the Gateway to Yellowstone.
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Daines’ opening statement as prepared is below:
“Thank you Chairman Lee and Ranking Member Wyden for holding this hearing on an important piece of legislation to Montana—Senator Tester’s Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. This legislation is important as it would protect an area in Montana we call Paradise Valley. This area is home to some renowned outdoor recreation opportunities, including world-class fly fishing, hiking, rafting, and hunting. It is also home to many businesses that serve those who are visiting Yellowstone National Park and surrounding area. Simply stated, the economy in this area thrives on our outdoor way of life.
“I am committed to continue to work with Senator Tester and local stakeholders on this important legislation. My staff and I have had at least 30 meetings and discussions with residents, local stakeholders, groups and Senator Tester. I thank everyone who has participated in those meetings. It is important to me that in any major land decision like this one, that the local community stands firmly behind it. The county commissioners, the other local elected officials, local businesses, and outdoor businesses like the fly-fishing industry support the withdrawal. I can say with confidence that after the meetings I have had that most of the community does stand with this mineral withdrawal.
“The opposition to mining in the Paradise valley is directly in contrast to the support for mines such as Montanore and Rock Creek in the northwestern part of Montana. Up in that region the county commissioners, local elected officials, businesses, and even the school system supports these mines. Further we have the Stillwater Mine which is a major economic driver in Montana, producing platinum and palladium. The only palladium producer in the US. It has wide local and statewide support and has operated on the edge of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness for decades proving that mines can be environmentally friendly and enjoy local support. These are high-paying jobs and it’s important that our state continue to support them.
“In Montana, as I say often, we are a blend of John Denver and Merle Haggard. That’s the Montana melody. I look forward to further exploring this legislation later today.”