Wyden, Merkley, DeFazio, Huffman Again Urge for Immediate Chetco River Protections

Washington, D.C. – Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Reps. Peter DeFazio and Jared Huffman today strongly urged federal officials to extend interim mineral withdrawal protections, which expired earlier this year, for the iconic Chetco River in southwest Oregon.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers wrote: “Given the unique and valuable resource values of the Chetco River, the immediate and serious threat they face, and the overwhelming public support for action, we strongly urge you to administratively withdrawal from mineral entry approximately 17 miles (5,610 acres) of the Wild and Scenic Chetco River. An administrative withdrawal will give Congress the time it needs to provide the necessary long-term protections this Oregon treasure needs and deserves.”

The Northwest delegation has worked to ensure protections for the Chetco River for over a decade. This is the second letter the lawmakers have sent this year to Secretary Zinke and Secretary Perdue. The five-year administrative withdrawal of the Chetco River, which took effect in July 2013, expired earlier this year despite the U.S. Forest Service’s application in 2016 to extend it. Legislation to make the Chectco River’s mineral withdrawal permanent has been introduced in the House and Senate since 2010.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

A web version of this release is available here.