Zinke urges mining ban near Yellowstone

Pretty much since the moment he was tapped to be Interior Secretary, we’ve been calling out Zinke for all of the “less than awesome” stuff he’s been up to during his short tenure in the Interior Department. It’s a welcome change to be able to commend him for finally doing something right…

Yesterday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he wants to speed up a proposal to block new gold mining claims on forested public land near Yellowstone National Park and will consider blocking other mining. The Interior Department is undergoing a two-year review launched by Zinke’s predecessor following concerns about two gold mines proposed in the forests that border Yellowstone.

 Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift said Monday that Zinke is “fully in the corner of protecting the Paradise Valley” outside Yellowstone and supports a proposed 20-year withdrawal of mining claims. Zinke also is asking his staff to expand the agency’s review to include other minerals such as oil and gas, coal, and phosphate.
LINK (via: The Billings Gazette)
The Greater Yellowstone Coalition responded to this announcement with the following statement.
“Today the Interior Department announced it is speeding up efforts to ban mining for 20-years on public lands near Yellowstone National Park. GYC welcomes this exciting news and thanks Secretary Zinke for his leadership on this issue. It shows that protecting our lands, water and wildlife from fly-by-night mining companies is something that everyone can get behind regardless of political party. This gives us breathing room to pass the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act which will keep risky mines from Yellowstone’s northern gateway not just for 20 years, but forever.”
So the only question remains, where you at Steve Daines? We’ve heard you support the withdrawal, but you’re not supporting the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act which will permanently protect this area from mining. Will Zinke’s announcement give him enough backbone to step out from the shadows and stand up for permanent protection for Montana’s residents and iconic lands? Only time will tell…

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