|Former USFS Employees Demand Withdrawal
of Chetco River
Note: If one ever
wanted proof of the fact that the United States Forest Service is heavily
infiltrated by industry killing environmentalists, one need only read the
recent guest editorial in The Oregonian written by former USFS employees
Jack Williams and Mike Dombeck. For those unaware, Williams is a former
forest supervisor of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest and is now
a senior scientist for Trout Unlimited, while Mike Dombeck is a former
chief of the Forest Service and is now a board member for Trout Unlimited.
We have the chance to
protect the Chetco River by ending in-stream mining
We all love second chances when they come along, and few have been bigger than the one handed to Oregon's Chetco River. Over the years, in-stream gold mining has posed the biggest threat to water quality and salmon spawning in the river. Despite the Chetco's protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, anyone could claim a piece of the river and even national forestland under the General Mining Act of 1872, and that is exactly what happened.
Several attempts have been made to increase protection for the river, but at best, success has been fleeting. Temporary withdrawals or proposals were made, but nothing permanent was ever accomplished.
In 2011, the U.S. Forest
Service asked the secretary of the interior to temporarily withdraw about
17 miles of the river from mineral entry. The idea was to prevent any new
claims and once again give Congress time to consider permanent protection,
something only it can do. Rep. Peter DeFazio stepped up and delivered House
Resolution 1415, the Chetco River Protection Act, and Sens. Ron Wyden and
Jeff Merkley have followed with Senate Bill 764. If passed into law, the
bills would improve wild and scenic protection and finally would make permanent
the mineral withdrawal on national forestlands.
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