Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a temporary, 20-year mineral withdrawal on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park on Monday.
In a video statement, Sen. Jon Tester called it a positive step forward.
“There are some places you just shouldn’t dig or drill, the doorstep of our country’s first National Park is one of them. Today’s news is a positive step forward, but it’s only a temporary solution. I will continue fighting to pass my Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, which would permanently ban mining in the Paradise Valley and protect the region’s world class scenery, resources, and economy for generations to come.”
The new ban will last 20 years, the maximum time allowed for such actions on public land.
That puts a crimp in the plans of the Crevice Mining Group LLC, an Australian-backed company intent on mining near Jardine, and Lucky Minerals Inc., a Canadian company, which has been working since 2015 toward getting approval to open mines in the Emigrant Gulch area.
“I fully support multiple use of public lands, but multiple use is about balance and knowing that not all areas are right for all uses. There are places where it is appropriate to mine and places where it is not. Paradise Valley is one of the areas it’s not,” Zinke said in a statement.
Rep. Greg Gianforte also called the decision a positive step, but said a permanent solution is needed.
“Today’s administrative action is a positive step forward, but we still have a ways to go. The Paradise Valley community has been clear that it wants a permanent withdrawal, and I will continue working to enact a permanent legislative solution so the gateway to Yellowstone is protected for future generations of Montanans.”