- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

SEATTLE (AP) - Washington’s U.S. senators have proposed a bill that would prevent mining on about 340,000 acres of public land in the Methow Valley.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would withdraw U.S. Forest Service land in northcentral Washington from potential mining leases.

Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell said in statements that the bill is needed to protect water, salmon and other natural resources in the region.

The Seattle Times says that in 2014 Blue River Resources filed a permit for exploratory drilling on Flagg Mountain to assess copper deposits. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company wants to use existing roads to access 14 locations to drill test borings to determine the possible value of its copper mining claim.

A Forest Service district ranger says the company’s proposal for exploratory drilling could be approved as soon as Aug. 1.

Company officials could not be reached Wednesday for comment on the legislation.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com

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