Representatives Peter DeFazio and Jared Huffman got right to it. On January 5th, two days after the 115th Congress convened, they reintroduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act (H.R. 310).
Shortly after, on January 23, 2017, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley reintroduced companion legislation (S.192) in the Senate
The text of the legislation and area covered by it are essentially the same as that from the 114th. Congress. The Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act received a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee but the House Natural Resource Committee failed to schedule a hearing, despite requests.
In their September 22, 2016 press release after the hearing, Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley wrote that:
“The lands near Rough and Ready and Baldface Creeks have some of the most exceptional ecological values in Oregon, and the streams are vitally important to the drinking water supply for several nearby communities and to salmon and steelhead runs,” Wyden said. “The mineral withdrawal in our bill has overwhelming support from local residents who want to preserve the lands and rivers they love, which is why I’m going to keep working to protect these areas from mining once and for all.”
“Our water is a precious resource, and these pristine Southwest Oregon rivers are treasures we can’t allow to be lost,” Merkley said. “Mining would pose an unacceptable risk to drinking water and to fish runs, and it’s time to protect these special areas by ensuring they’re always off-limits to the threat of mining.”
Please thank your Senators and Congressmen
In 2017 and beyond, Senators Wyden and Merkley and Reps. DeFazio and Huffman, will be the first line of defense for preventing the nickel strip mines proposed for the North Fork Smith River and Baldface Creek and Rough and Ready creeks in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area and the Hunter Creek and Pistol River headwaters.
We need to thank them now and often. The best way to do this is to make a phone call to one of their offices or to send a fax, When they schedule a town hall in your area, be sure to be there to thank them or their staff in person. Or you could even send a card or letter of appreciation by the U.S. Postal Service.
They need to hear that the public appreciates their work and wants these areas and their beautiful rivers permanently protected.