Senator Cantwell Applauds Agreement to Protect the Upper Skagit River from Mining Threat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement after it was announced that the government of British Columbia and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Imperial Metals that will return all of its mining rights within a more than 14,000 acre area at the headwaters of the Skagit River. In 2019, Senator Cantwell signed a letter to the US Secretary of State voicing opposition to the proposed mine.

“This agreement is a big win for the entire region, because the headwaters of the Upper Skagit River is the heart of the Puget Sound ecosystem, supplying clean and fresh water.  And it is a big win for salmon, especially the endangered Chinook that Treaty Tribes, orcas, and our regional economy depend on,” said Senator Cantwell.

Imperial Metals, a British Columbian mining company, had submitted a proposal to conduct exploratory copper and gold mining operations on unprotected land in the Upper Skagit River Watershed. However, copper is highly toxic to salmon, and concerns have been raised that heavy metals from mining could pollute the river, harming fisheries as far downstream as Puget Sound and threatening the Tribes who depend on the watershed.

A copy of the letter opposing the mine can be found HERE.