Energy

Zinke Extends Mining Ban Around Yellowstone

Reuters

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke extended an Obama-era ban on new mining claims near Yellowstone National Park, Monday at a press conference held in his home state of Montana.

The ban covers roughly 30,000 acres in the Paradise Valley and Gardiner Basin in southwest Montana on the outside edge of Yellowstone. The ban has bipartisan support in the state of Montana and lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are attempting to make it permanent through legislation. Zinke’s order bans mining for two decades, the longest stretch possible ordered by an Interior secretary. (RELATED: States Are Taking Control Of Yellowstone’s Most Iconic Animals — Grizzly Bears)

“There are places where it is appropriate to mine and places where it is not,” Zinke said in a statement. “Paradise Valley is one of the areas it’s not.”

Mining and extraction companies lobbied against the ban. The area contains gold, silver and other minerals that were mined in previous years. Zinke renewed the ban after two more gold mines were proposed in the area, according to The Associated Press.

The ban does not affect mining leases already in place or mining operations on private lands.

The ban was first enacted by former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in 2016. It was put in place for two years and set to expire next month.

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