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Dazzling Flathead Valley Preserved From Development

In dramatic victories for conservation, the governments of British Columbia and Montana have signed an agreement to ban all mining and energy development on public lands in the transboundary North Fork of the Flathead River valley.

The announcement was followed days later by a promise from Montana's two senators to seek similar protections for federal lands connected to the Valley and adjacent to Glacier National Park.

This is a big win for Earthjustice and its Canadian counterpart, EcoJustice, which had petitioned the United Nations in 2008 to investigate proposed mining activities. What's been saved, says Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso, is "a treasure more precious than coal or gold."

Until now, the river's western and northern slopes -- thousands of acres bordering Glacier National Park-- were slated for mountain-top removal coal mining, gold mining, and oil and gas drilling. Earthjustice and other conservation groups successfully petitioned the United Nations as well as U.S. and Canadian leaders to protect this spectacularly beautiful wildlife corridor, home to grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, lynx, mountain goat and endangered trout.

"This success could not have been achieved without the efforts of countless individuals over the past 25 years that have fought hard to make this a reality. Now we must work toward permanent protection and connecting wildlife habitats along the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor," said Ryland Nelson, program coordinator of Wildsight.