Success! Mineral withdrawal process officially initiated for the Methow Headwaters

The Methow Headwaters Campaign is pleased to announce that on Friday, December 30,2016 the Department of the Interior filed a segregation notice in the Federal Register, officially kicking off a two-year planning period to evaluate the potential for a 20-year administrative mineral withdrawal for the 340,000-acre Methow Headwaters region in support of S. 2991, The Methow Headwaters Protection Act of 2016.

The segregation notice marks the beginning of a two-year planning period during which the U.S. Forest Service will work with the Bureau of Land Management to conduct a public outreach and environmental planning process to evaluate the withdrawal proposal. During this period, there will be a “timeout” for all new mineral claims, though valid mining claims can continue to be worked by mining claimants. Following the two-year planning process and based on the agency’s decision, the agency may issue an administrative withdrawal of up to 20 years for the region, making it off-limits to any new mining claims, and requiring all existing mining claimants to prove they have a valid claim before developing that claim further.

We are thrilled the Obama administration and Senators Murray and Cantwell acted swiftly to secure the start of the mineral withdrawal process before the new administration takes office. We will keep you updated on next steps with this process – a few on our radar include:
Providing comments during the 90-day public comment period that is currently open
• Attending a to-be-scheduled public meeting in the Methow Valley (this should happen in the next two months)
• Attending our campaign celebration in February in the Methow Valley (more information to come!)

Please visit our TAKE ACTION page to submit a letter of support during this critical time.

Thank you for your continued support! Your voice has made a difference in this campaign.

If you would like to submit written comments, you can send them to the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR 97208-2965 or to BLM_OR_WA_WITHDRAWALS@blm.gov. The public will also have the opportunity to verbally comment or provide written comments at a public meeting to be scheduled in early 2017. The Methow Headwaters Campaign will provide additional guidance on how to public comment in the weeks to come.

Read Methow Headwaters Campaign Press Release: Methow Headwaters Mineral Withdrawal Initiated
Read Senator Murray’s and Cantwell’s Press Release: Senators Murray, Cantwell Applaud Move to Protect Methow Valley from Mining for Next Two Years
Read Department of the Interior/Bureau of Land Management Press Release: BLM, Forest Service Protect Over 300,000 Acres of Pristine Forest