Feds block mining near Yellowstone National Park

Feds block mining near Yellowstone National Park
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The Obama administration on Monday blocked mining on 30,000 acres of public land near Yellowstone National Park. 

Under an order from Interior Secretary Sally JewellSarah (Sally) Margaret JewellNational parks pay the price for Trump's Independence Day spectacle Overnight Energy: Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone | UN report offers dire climate warning | Trump expected to lift ethanol restrictions Zinke extends mining ban near Yellowstone MORE, federal officials will ban new mining claims on 30,0000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land near Yellowstone’s northern entrance in Montana. 

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The order means federal agencies will not issue new permits for mining gold or other metals in the region for at least two years. During that time, the Interior and Agriculture Departments will consider whether to withdraw the land from mine permitting programs for up to 20 more years. 

“There are good places to mine for gold, but the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park is not one of them,” Jewell said in a statement. 

“As we celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service, today’s action helps ensure that Yellowstone’s watershed, wildlife and the tourism-based economy of local communities will not be threatened by the impacts of mineral development.”

The two-year ban does not apply to current mining activities in the area. The fate of a long-term ban will depend on who President-elect Trump selects to lead his Interior Department, though Trump himself has been hostile to environmental regulations that he says threaten American jobs. 

Monday’s announcement is the latest in a string of Interior efforts to block mining or drilling in certain environmentally sensitive areas around the United States. 

The department announced on Friday that it would block oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean as part of its five-year offshore drilling plan. 

Last week, the agency and an oil company agreed to cancel a handful of drilling leases near land sacred to the Blackfeet Nation tribe in Montana.