Dozens of wildlife species in the surrounding area of Yellowstone National Park will be protected thanks to a new ruling.
Earlier this week, U.S. Interior Secretary and former Montana congressman Ryan Zinke approved a 20-year ban on mineral mining in the public areas north of the historic park.
The ban was supported by a host of Montana businesses and organizations as a means of preserving the popular recreational areas, as well as protecting the pristine mountain landscape and the elk, bears, and wolves that frequent the area.
“I’m a pro-mining guy. I love hardrock [mining],” said Zinke, according to the Associated Press. “But there are places to mine and places not to mine.”
The legislation takes a direct stance against the Lucky Minerals mining company after they drafted up two excavation plans to hunt for gold, silver, and minerals inside of the 47 square miles (122 square kilometers) of public land.
Though the ban does not affect the company’s pre-existing land claims or claims on private lands, supporters of the legislation say that the company’s inability to expand their mining onto the surrounding public lands for a more wide-scale excavation is a huge deterrent from proceeding.
Conservationists hope that, after the ban was approved with bipartisan support in Montana as an extension of a temporary ban issued by former president Barack Obama in 2016, they will be able to pass a permanent ban in the coming years.
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