Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley renewed their call for federal agencies to prevent environmentally damaging mining operations at Baldface and Rough and Ready Creeks in Southwestern Oregon, after American Rivers named the two creeks to its “Most Endangered” list, on Wednesday.
Wyden and Merkley have urged the federal Bureau of Land Management to administratively withdraw the creeks from mining multiple times since 1998. Wyden and Merkley sent their most recent request to the administration in a 2011 letter.
“It doesn’t take a list to know that Baldface and Rough and Ready creeks are special places deserving of federal protection,” Wyden said. “Today’s announcement underscores the urgent need for the administration to act now and prevent mining activities from damaging critical habitat for endangered salmon and steelhead.”
“Oregon has some very special places that merit protection, including Baldface and Rough and Ready Creeks,” said Merkley “These streams are damaged by mining operations and I’m hopeful that federal agencies will step up to protect them.”
Mining activities are allowed in the area under the Mining Law of 1872, which gives favorable treatment to prospectors. However, the federal government has the power to administratively withdraw the creeks from possible mining, an action that the Clinton administration recommend in the late 1990s.