East Rosebud (MT) Wild and Scenic Act Passes House!

posted July 18, 2018
by Evan Stafford

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On Tuesday July 17, 2018, the East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act passed the United States House of Representatives, clearing a make-or-break hurdle on the way to becoming law. Designation would protect twenty miles of East Rosebud Creek from hydropower dams and other impacts as it flows on Federal lands from the spectacular Beartooth Mountains in Montana. This broadly supported bipartisan bill would create the first Wild and Scenic River in Montana since 1976, on this, the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. 
 
Identical versions of the East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act have now passed both the House (H.R. 4645) and the Senate (S.B. 501), but congressional rules require one more procedural vote from the Senate before the bill heads to the President’s desk. We are hopeful that this vote can occur in short order. We’d like to thank Congressman Gianforte, and Senators Tester and Daines for working together on this popular river protection bill. 
 
A private hydropower company proposed to dam and divert East Rosebud Creek in the summer of 2009, as well as the Madison River and West Rosebud Creek. Reaction was swift. American Whitewater, Beartooth Paddlers, Jackson Hole Kayak Club, and Rendezvous River Sports filed an intervention that actively opposed the hydropower projects. Several other organizations also actively opposed the Proposed East Rosebud dam, and local citizens eventually formed the Friends of East Rosebud to fight the dam and seek protections for East Rosebud Creek. In 2012 the hydropower developer abandoned their dam permit applications, but the drive to permanently protect the creek only grew. The East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act was first introduced in 2014. 
 
American Whitewater and our partners have actively supported the East Rosebud Creek Wild and Scenic River Act from day one, and are overjoyed that it is on the cusp of passing into law. We have worked closely with American Rivers, the Greater Yellowstone, Pacific Rivers Council and many other organizations, businesses, and individuals in a coalition called Montanans for Healthy Rivers for the past 8 years. Our outreach across Montana has revealed overwhelming interest in protecting some of Montana’s last best rivers with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and East Rosebud is an excellent start. 
 
Montanans are encouraged to thank Congressman Gianforte, and also to thank Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and ask that they secure the final vote needed for passing the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic River Act into law.