EARTHblog » Bonnie Gestring
February 15, 2013
On February 14, Senators Wyden and Merkley re-introduced the Chetco River protection bill as part of their new Oregon Treasures Act.
“The lands addressed in these bills are among Oregon’s most pristine areas,” Senator Wyden said. “These areas provide habitats to countless species of plants and animals, economic benefits to surrounding communities and recreational opportunities for Oregonians and visitors throughout the nation. Senator Merkley and I will continue working with our colleagues to do all that we can to preserve these areas for generations to come.”
February 6, 2013
Once in a while an opportunity comes along, where all the pieces come together just at the right moment. This is that moment for Oregon's Chetco River. Despite its wild and scenic designation, the Chetco is still vulnerable to mining under the 1872 mining law, which prioritizes mining over all other land uses.
The Forest Service recently released an environmental assessment (EA) that makes it clear that suction dredge mining would threaten the outstanding values for which the area was designated - fisheries, water quality and recreation. It emphasizes that these values are critical to the local economy, and they can only be protected through a mineral withdrawal.