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DeFazio Re-introduces Southwestern Oregon Salmon and Watershed Protection Act to Make SW Oregon Mining Ban Permanent

Feb 12, 2021
Press Release

Rep. Peter DeFazio yesterday re-introduced legislation to make permanent a twenty-year ban on new mining projects in the Pistol River and Rough and Ready Creek watersheds in southwest Oregon.

“These watersheds provide critical drinking water for several communities and support highly sensitive ecosystems for salmon as well as the highest concentrations of rare plants in Oregon,” said Rep. DeFazio. “This legislation is necessary to maintain the current 20-year ban on mining in the area and will enable Congress to make that ban permanent.  For the health of our communities and ecosystems throughout the region, it is imperative to protect this area from the threat of foreign-owned mining companies.”

"The headwaters of our wild rivers are no place for strip mining,” said Ann Vileisis, President of the Kalmiopsis Audubon Society, Port Orford. “We’re grateful that Rep. DeFazio continues to fight to protect Southwest Oregon’s cherished rivers."

"As a brewer, I care deeply about protecting the source of the water I use to make great beer,” said James Smith, Arch Rock Brewery, Gold Beach. “I applaud Congressman DeFazio for introducing legislation to permanently protect the headwaters of Hunter Creek and other amazing wild rivers in southwestern Oregon from the threat of strip mining."

"I so appreciate that Rep. DeFazio has reintroduced the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act,” said Dave Lacey, South Coast Tours, Gold Beach. “It means so much to local residents of Curry County to protect our rivers. My business, South Coast Tours, is completely reliant on thriving and resilient ecosystems that would be imperiled by strip mining the headwaters of our Wild Rivers Coast streams."

In 2017, the Obama administration agreed to DeFazio’s request to establish a 20-year ban on new mining projects in the Pistol River and Rough and Ready Creek watersheds.