Daines should support Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in Senate


The natural world has continued to be a classroom for those of all ages. Working as an outdoor educator for the past five years has allowed me the privilege of educating young and old alike about the wonders of nature, as well as the opportunity to spread the value of conservation throughout the world.  We are fortunate that one of the most incredible natural classrooms exists right here in our backyard — Yellowstone National Park. 

After a year of many devastating threats to our treasured public lands, I am grateful to have the opportunity to thank U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte for introducing last month companion legislation for the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act (H.R. 4644). This bill, introduced by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in April, will permanently prohibit mining on 30,000 acres of public lands on the border of Yellowstone. The bill prevents large-scale mining operations that would cut off access to public lands, shrink wildlife habitat and pollute our water with acid-mine drainage. Gianforte committed to over 400 businesses and even more individuals, like myself, to working with Sen. Tester to approve this bill. Gianforte delivered what we asked for with no strings attached — no requirements to open up public lands in other parts of the state — just a clean companion bill. I want to thank everyone in our community who stood together and continued to make a clear ask for the simple solution that we requested — the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. Thank you for listening to our voices, Congressman Gianforte.

Permanently protecting 30,000 acres of public land on the doorstep of Yellowstone equates to protecting a nationally renowned landscape integral to ecosystem health and local jobs. As a wildlife and recreation guide, I know for certain visitors travel to the GYE to see a rich natural landscape, diverse and healthy ecosystem, working rural ranches and quaint intermountain communities. We are stewards of the pure water of the Yellowstone, rich meadows and mountain tops, and healthy wildlife populations. We have a moral obligation to care for these places. I intend to continue in my mission as an ambassador to the environment — I am not alone in this endeavor. I stand with the 400 businesses that have requested a permanent solution to the threat of mines in our backyard. Now, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, I urge you to stand with us, and co-sponsor the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act in the Senate. We need your help to move this bill through Congress as soon as possible. Our community, my career, and the livelihood of my peers, depend on it. 

Molly O’Neil