Oregon Lawmakers Urging Trump Administration Not to Review Mineral Withdrawals

Oregon Lawmakers Urging Trump Administration Not to Review Mineral Withdrawals


By:  Sam Marsh

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representative Peter DeFazio are urging the Trump administration not to pursue a request to review mineral withdrawals from the past eight years -- including one in Southwestern Oregon.

Wyden, Merkley and DeFazio wrote to US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, asking them not to act on a recent from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop to review all mineral withdrawals from the past eight years.

The Oregon lawmakers noted Bishop's request "is filled with factual errors and flawed assumptions" about the Southwestern Oregon Mineral Withdrawal. They pointed to the law that allows mineral withdrawals like this one, contrary to the claim the withdrawal was "illegal."

Wyden, Merkley and DeFazio introduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act in 2015 to protect the area from development. At the end of last year, the Obama administration withdrew more than 100,000 acres near the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area from mineral development.

According to the Democratic lawmakers, the withdrawal followed extensive public comment periods over several years that produced more than 45,000 supportive comments from local city council members, tribal leaders, county commissioners and recreation business leaders.