VII.23 Yellowstone National Park (United States of America)
The Committee recalled that at its last session (Merida, 1996), it commended the initiative of the President of the State Party to remove the potential mining threat to Yellowstone National Park, by offering a mutually agreed upon trade of land valued at US$ 65 million, and requested the State Party to outline, before 15 September 1997, the steps and schedule for threat mitigation which could be followed. Since then a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Cooke City Mineral Withdrawal was issued and circulated for public comment. The Final Version of the EIS and its Summary were published in July 1997. Subsequently, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management and the Under Secretary of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment have both signed, on 12 August 1997, the decision authorising the withdrawal of a mineral permit from 22,065 acres near Cooke City, Montana.
The Centre informed the Committee that a report was received on 25 November 1997, which indicates that significant progress has been made on some of the issues noted by the Committee in December 1995, such as the proposed mine. However, there remain serious threats to the natural resources and values. The Delegate of the United States informed the Committee that US$ 65 million have been made available to acquire the Crown Butte mining interests and to preserve the Park.
The Committee commended the Government of the United States on its progress and commitment. Following discussion as to whether the site could be removed from the Danger List, the Committee decided to retain Yellowstone National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger.