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.
The good news! The Forest Service is recommending that the Dept. of Interior approve a 5-year withdrawal while Congress considers more lasting protection via the Chetco River Protection Act, legislation crafted by members of the Oregon delegation.
The clock is ticking. The Interior must approve the mineral withdrawal by the end of July 2013, or the river will be open once again to claim-staking and mining. The pieces are there to protect this national treasure. Take 3 minutes to show your support. http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/676/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12413