Tester announces legislation to ban mining near Yellowstone

A bill to permanently halt mining on federal land surrounding Montana’s Paradise Valley will be introduced to the U.S. Senate this session, Sen. Jon Tester announced Tuesday.

The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act permanently withdraws federal mineral rights on 30,000 acres of public land in the Custer Gallatin National Forest adjacent to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park, and it eliminates the ability for proposed mines to expand on to unclaimed public land.

A two-year prohibition on mining on public lands was enacted in November by former Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. Her decision came after locals and area businesses lobbied against the two gold mining companies that have been seeking state mining permits.

Tester said with more people visiting national parks each year, and the reliance of area businesses on the health of the environment to generate income, the legislation is needed to ensure protection for current and future generations.

The Senator said he had forwarded the information about his proposal to U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, who has never taken a stance on the mining issue.

LINK (via: Billings Gazette)

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