[11/16/18] Methow Headwaters Meeting Draws Packed House
Members of the Methow community came out in force Tuesday night to show their support for a proposal to put the headwaters of the Methow Valley off-limits to industrial mining for 20 years. The Bureau of Land Management held a meeting at the Winthrop Barn to get public input on the matter, and an estimated 450 people showed up. Maggie Coon with the Methow Headwaters Campaign says the BLM folks got an earful:
Coon says the lack of opposition didn’t surprise her; the campaign to protect the headwaters was spurred by a 2014 proposal to explore developing a copper mine in the headwaters. In September, the U. S. Forest Service recommended to BLM a 20-year mineral withdrawl of the Methow headwaters, covering about 340-thousand acres of land on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Mineral withdrawls protect selected lands and waters from large-scale mining while allowing existing uses. It also gives time for Congress to consider legislation to permanently protect the headwaters. The Methow Headwaters Protection Act is currently pending in Congress.
Support for the withdrawl has been bipartisan, including Congressman Dan Newhouse, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, current and former state lawmakers and local officials. But did BLM get the message after Tuesday night’s meeting? Maggie Coon thinks so:
Now the public comment period on the withdrawl proposal is closed; BLM will now make a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior for a final decision, which is hoped to come before the end of the year.