Monday, January 7, 2013

Chetco Mineral Withdrawal Environmental Assessment released

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest recently released its Environmental Assessment (EA) for an administrative mineral withdrawal on the Wild and Scenic Chetco River.

The mineral withdrawal is being considered in-aid-of legislation —the Chetco River Protection Act, introduced by Senator Wyden, Senator Merkley, Congressman DeFazio, and Congressman Blumenauer to permanently safeguard the Wild and Scenic Chetco from future instream mining proposals in its designated reaches.

A 30-day public comment period ended on January 4, 2013. You can read the Environmental Assessment here.

In its EA, the Forest recommended the administrative withdrawal, indicating that “full protection of the river’s Outstandingly Remarkable Values —recreation, water quality, and fish— can only occur through a mineral withdrawal.”

Next, the Forest will forward its recommendation to the Bureau of Land Management and ultimately to the Secretary of the Interior, who will make the final decision.

In order to safeguard the Wild and Scenic Chetco from new mining claims, the Secretary must officially withdraw the river bed and lands along the river before the current, temporary segregation expires in July of 2013.

In the meantime, we need to ask our Oregon Congressional delegation to re-introduce the Chetco River Protection Act in the new congress. Please call or send a note to Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley, asking them to reintroduce the Chetco River Protection Act. Go to the How to Help page for quick links.