FLASHBACK: Daines Blocks Gateway Protection Act Unless He Can Remove Protections from 449,500 Acres of Public Land


Helena—Senator Steve Daines continues to play politics with Montana’s outdoor economy and clean water.

Daines has repeatedly held up Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act for months, refusing to support it unless it is attached to his top-down attempt to eliminate protections for 449,500 acres of Montana’s public lands.

But don’t take our word for it—

Lee Newspapers: Daines bill would release wilderness study areas for other uses

“Daines said his bill could be necessary to win bipartisan support for another measure Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, has written to halt gold mining in the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone National Park.”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: Montana senator wants to eliminate wilderness study areas

Daines also said that releasing the study areas might help advance a bill seeking to ban new mining claims on 30,000 acres of public land east of the Paradise Valley, called the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act.

“Pairing these would be one path forward,” [Daines] said.

Billings Gazette: Quit stalling, save Montana’s Paradise Valley

Later, Daines himself phoned to say that he is working to get the Paradise Valley withdrawal paired with release of about 500,000 acres of Montana Wilderness Study Areas “that aren’t suitable for wilderness… I think this is a reasonable thing to do in Montana.”


Daines instead recently told a reporter from this newspaper that perhaps the Paradise Valley mineral withdrawal effort could be used as a bargaining chip in his efforts to withdraw nearly 450,000 acres of public land in the Treasure State from Wilderness Study Area (WSA) designation.


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