U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has approved a 20-year ban on new mining claims in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park, after two proposed gold mines raised concerns the area could be spoiled.
Zinke signed the mineral ban Monday at a ceremony in Montana's Paradise Valley. The former Montana congressman was joined by local officials and others who support the move.
It extends a temporary ban imposed in 2016 under President Barack Obama. Most of the land is within the Custer Gallatin National Forest, but the underground minerals are overseen by the Interior Department.
Colin Davis with the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition says his group will now focus on making the ban permanent through measures pending before Congress.
(by Associated Press)