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Legislation and Government Action
Sentators Baucus and Tester introduced S. 233 in 2011. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee failed to act. Senators Baucus and Tester reintroduced the bill in February 2013 as S. 255 under the same name.
This British Columbia, Canada, legislation bans mining and heavy industrial development the entire Flathead River watershed in B.C., an area of about 400,000 acres. This legislation culminates almost a decade of effort to block industrial development that would devastate the internation Flathead River watershed and Flathead Lake.
This document represents 35 years of effort to prevent mountaintop-removal coal strip mining of the Canadian headwaters of the North Fork Flathead River. The MOU was completed by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer in February 2010. Every governor of Montana from 1975 until 2010, republican and democrat, had tried to negotiate such a framework. The document commits both jurisdictions to legislate a ban on mining and energy development within the watershed. While the MOU does not have the force of law, it does contain considerable moral imperative. The MOU was achieved after a concerted ten-year effort by conservation groups, including Headwaters Montana, to pressure the B.C. government to agree to a development ban.
Other Measures and Actions
- The Montana Land Board imposed a "No Surface Occupancy" stipulation on any future mineral development under state lands within the watershed. This stipulation must be moved to a legislated ban or a transfer of the state owned mineral into U.S. federal ownership and then removed from future leasing opportunity.
- The Whitefish Range needs additional legislated protection to protect the International Wildlife Corridor that runs from the town of Whitefish to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada
- Working with our Canadian partners, Headwaters Montana advocates for the doubling in size of Waterton Lakes National Park creating a new Canadian national park in the Flathead River watershed in BC. Total area would be approximately 100,000 acres and would fill in the "missing piece" of Waterton Park.