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Interior chief to see North Fork

Interior chief to see North Fork

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KALISPELL - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will travel into the remote North Fork Flathead River Valley on Tuesday, a watershed long threatened by mining proposals from the Canadian north.

He will be accompanied by Montana's Democratic U.S. senators, Jon Tester and Max Baucus.

Baucus has worked for decades to stall industrialization of the Canadian Flathead, which flows south into Montana where it forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park.

Salazar's boss - President Barack Obama - learned of the long-standing transboundary dispute during a Montana campaign stop last spring, and later issued a statement supporting Baucus' opposition to upstream coal mining. Candidate Obama noted "the Flathead River and Glacier National Park are treasures that should be conserved for future generations."

Tuesday's site visit is "an opportunity to show Secretary Salazar the landscape up there, and to discuss some of the issues," said Baucus spokesman Ty Matsdorf.

Salazar will be coming off a water forum in Billings, that focused on growing pressures facing the West's limited water supplies.

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