As an angler of the Yellowstone River for the past two decades, I applaud Sen. Jon Tester’s introduction of the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act last week, which proposes 30,000 acres of public land be off-limits to industrial gold-mining. Locals — including 340 regional businesses with the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition — have asked for this. We have a senator who hears us and is willing to help us with this fight.
The Yellowstone River isn’t just a Montana treasure, it’s our national treasure — Montana just happens to be the steward of America’s iconic waterway. We have a responsibility to the millions of visitors who come to our state for our blue-ribbon fisheries to keep them pristine. This bill protects our right to do business here, which I remember each day I take a client on the river.
We all had a scare last summer with the river closure, and we recognize we’re dealing with a dynamic and fragile system. Any further stressors of industrial development near the river and its tributaries jeopardize my livelihood and the economic stability of our gateway communities — including Billings.
Join me in supporting this bill as it moves through Congress. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that summer is around the corner, and it’s time to spend days on the water. Let’s make sure that never changes.
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